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VOL. I. 









" How poor, bow rich, how abject, how august, 
How complicate, how wonderful is man, 
How passing wonder He who made him such !" 

YOUNG'S Night Thoughts. 






THE materials for the following work have 
been collected from a great number and 
variety of books. It has been judged 
better to avoid interminable references to 
the authorities from which each item of 
information has been obtained; but the 
writer can conscientiously state, that no 
circumstance, however minute, is men- 
tioned without, what he conceives to be, 
sufficient authentication. 

Among Lord Peterborough's cotempo- 
raries, there is hardly a writer of any 
note who does not make mention of him, 
and hardly a correspondence in which he 


does not figure. His name recurs fre- 
quently in all Parliamentary and other 
annals of the time, and many of his manu- 
script letters are still extant, a highly 
interesting series of which, addressed to 
General Stanhope, are here, by Lord 
Mahon's kind permission, largely used. A 
considerable number of his official letters, 
also, many of them highly characteristic, 
are to be found in the British Museum. 

The writer of these pages was led to 
search for more ample information on this 
subject, and finally to embody it in a 
memoir, by meeting accidentally with a 
small and rare volume, called " The 
Triumphs of Her Majesty's Arms, both by 
Sea and Land, under the conduct of his 
Excellency Charles, Earl of Peterburgh 
and Monmouth," published 1707. This 
cotemporary narrative confirms, in almost 


all particulars, those of Dr. Friend and 
Captain Carleton, and in many respects is 
more minute, and even more interesting, 
than either of them. 

Some brief but able biographical sketches 
of Lord Peterborough already exist ; they, 
however, treat almost exclusively of his 
military career, while the strange events of 
his political and private life are hardly 
touched upon. 

The curious old book above mentioned 
was an inducement to the writer of this 
memoir to seek for more ample inform- 
ation on the subject, from the interest which 
it excited in his mind. Should he be for- 
tunate enough to communicate a portion of 
that interest to those whose eyes may meet 
these pages, his labour will not have been 
in vain. 





No writer of fiction would venture to create a 
character so strange and contradictory as that of 
Charles, Earl of Peterborough. His extraordinary 
achievements outvie the inventions of romance, 
and his follies may almost claim the immunities of 
insanity. Few men have ever been so strangely 
gifted, and, at the same time, so strangely de- 
ficient. While his splendid capacity and match- 
less energy were constantly exhibited, they were 
rarely rendered useful to his country, and never 
to himself. Amidst the general corruption of the 
powerful he was irreproachably disinterested, and 
VOL. I. B 


eminent in public virtue, yet in religion he was 
an unbeliever, and in morals a libertine. 

His resolves were sudden and vehement, but 
he was patient and pertinacious in their execution. 
He was at once laborious as a scholar and brilliant 
as a wit. Now he distinguished himself as a sailor, 
again he astonished Europe as a soldier. One 
day he risked life and land in a conspiracy, the 
next found him busied in the sober labours of 
finance. His name constantly recurs in the poli- 
tical and social records of his time. His bold 
eloquence in the House of Lords, at a period when 
few ventured to speak boldly, would alone have 
given him a place in history. His familiar letters 
appear to no disadvantage beside those of the 
ablest and most practised among contemporary 
writers. He enjoyed the pleasures, both of rural 
life, and of literary ease, with keen appreciation, 
while at other times he exulted in the almost 
desperate chances of war, and gloried in the diffi- 
culties which intensified the excitement of action. 

Even in his maturer years, when affairs of the 
greatest importance were on his mind, he would 


at times give the rein to all the giddy vanities for 
which youth can be the only palliation ; and yet 
when his hour of leisure was over, none could 
more gravely and assiduously devote himself to his 
duty. His intellect, courage, and generosity 
were acknowledged even by enemies, and they 
were ever numerous, but these high qualities were 
counterbalanced by an exacting and insatiable 
vanity, and by an uncontrollable temper. With 
him love of excitement was a passion, and its 
gratification a necessity. When not engaged in 
more honourable or adequate employment, he was 
perpetually mixed up in conspiracy and intrigue. 
His conduct could neither be foreseen nor trusted. 
He was as dangerous to his friends as to his foes. 
The general tendencies of his mind were un- 
doubtedly advanced, even republican; but in 
politics, as in religion, he acknowledged no fixed 
principle or conviction. 

Peterborough was small and singularly spare 
in person, but he was endowed with great activity 
and capability of endurance. Unusual, indeed, 
must have been the powers of the slender frame 

B 2 


that fulfilled the behests of such an indomitable 
spirit. Neither hardship nor fatigue told upon 
him ; in war he was ever unwearied, wakeful, and 
vigilant, and in peace the frequency and rapidity 
of his journeys were the subject of many a remark. 
His features were prepossessing, his nose some- 
what prominent, and his eye lively and penetrat- 
ing. A s he advanced in life, his face became long 
and meagre, and his expression assumed the fretful 
and impatient character of his disposition. His 
hair was light-brown in colour, and somewhat 
scanty, but he is usually drawn in a wig of 
gigantic dimensions. 

Although the deeds of the subject of this 
memoir have completely eclipsed those of his 
ancestors, his family was ancient and eminent. 
In the year 1685, Henry, the second Earl of 
Peterborough, printed the records of his house. 
Among them appears a grant of the lands of 
Eadwell in Bedfordshire, to Sir Osbert le Mor- 
daunt, a Norman Knight, from his brother, 
whose name is unknown. The deed states that 
these lands were granted to the donor by 


William I., for good service done by his father 
and himself, in the Conquest of England. The 
grandson of Osbert married into the family of 
De Alneto, or Daunay, and thus became possessed 
of the estate of Tarvey, which remained with the 
Mordaunts till their line terminated in a female. 

For many generations the descendants of the 
Norman adventurer held a position of some im- 
portance in Bedfordshire, without, however, at- 
taining to a higher eminence than that of occa- 
sionally furnishing a knight of the shire. But 
on the 16th of June, 1484, a Sir John Mordaunt 
distinguished himself as one of the king's generals 
at the battle of Stoke, near Newark-on-Trent, 
against John, Earl of Lincoln, and his adherents. 
This knight appeal's to have possessed some of the 
versatility of talent in which his great descendant 
abounded, for he was learned in the law, as well 
as a bold military chief. In the second year of 
Henry VII. 's reign, he was made Justice of 
Chester, and soon after Chancellor of the Duchy 
of Lancaster. The son of this Sir John was 
nominated by Act of Parliament " as one of the 

B 3 


most discreet persons," to assess and collect a 
subsidy of 163,0007. by a poll-tax. "Meriting 
much by reason of his great abilities," (probably 
having succeeded in obtaining the money), he was 
summoned as a Peer to Parliament, by his appre- 
ciative Sovereign Henry VIII., and took his seat 
accordingly on the 4th of May, 1532. 

The three following Lords Mordaunt " ap- 
peared in arms," " sat in judgment " on other 
noble lords, and " were suspected," all in the 
usual course befitting their high position, without 
however, winning a place in any chronicle less 
limited than family records. But John, fifth 
Lord Mordaunt, gained the dignity of Earl of 
Peterborough, on the 9th of May, 1627. He 
was brought up in the faith of Rome ; nevertheless, 
he had imbibed principles favourable to the Re- 
formation. During a remarkable controversy held 
at his house, between the learned Bishop Usher 
and a Roman Catholic priest, wherein the latter 
was silenced, his vacillation settled into convic- 
tion, and henceforth he openly professed Pro- 
testantism. This Lord Peterborough afterwards 


served under the Earl of Essex, in the army of 
the Parliament, and became Master General of 
the Ordnance under the Commonwealth. His 
eldest son, Henry, succeeded to his titles in due 

This Henry, second Earl of Peterborough, had 
evinced his independence of paternal control, by 
taking a diametrically opposite view of political 
affairs to that of his father: he had raised a 
regiment for the Royal cause, and fought stoutly, 
and shed his blood, at the battle of Newbury ; in 
1648, he and his brother John rose with Lord 
Holland, to rescue the imprisoned king; they 
shared in their leader's defeat, but not in his 
death ; they escaped to France, and were voted 
traitors to the Commonwealth, a punishment 
they by no means felt so severely as that of the 
sequestration of their estates, which speedily 
followed. At the Restoration, however, these 
brothers were more fortunate than many others, 
who had made equal sacrifices for the Royal 
cause; their estates were restored, and honours 
and places of trust were bestowed upon them. 

B 4 


Henry was appointed Governor of Tangier, the 
dowry of Charles II. 's bride, and retained the 
fickle favour of the Court for a considerable time. 
In 1773 he was sent as ambassador extraordinary 
to seek the hand of Mary of Modena for the 
Duke of York, then heir presumptive to the 
English throne. On the accession of James II. 
Lord Peterborough received his dangerous patron- 
age, and, consequently, became an object of mis- 
trust and hatred to the Commons. 

The second brother, John Mordaunt, was 
famed for his signal and daring exploits during 
the Commonwealth ; he had entered, heart and 
soul, into every scheme for the Restoration of 
the Stuarts, and on one occasion was actually 
brought to trial by Cromwell for treason, a 
danger from which few ever escaped; but the 
admirable energy and dexterity of his wife pro- 
cured his acquittal. He was, nevertheless, re- 
tained a close prisoner in the Tower for several 
months, and the Protector was strongly inclined 
to bring him a second time to trial upon the 
same charge. At length, however, he obtained 


his freedom, and immediately embarked again 
in plots against the existing government as 
zealously as before, and more successfully. At the 
death of Cromwell, John Mordaunt was one of 
the first and most active of those who counselled 
the return of Charles. His discretion kept pace 
with his zeal, and his services were most im- 
portant. In reward for the risk of life and 
fortune, and for his loyalty and ability, he was 
raised to the peerage on the 10th of July, 1659, 
by the titles of Lord Mordaunt and Viscount 

In early youth John Mordaunt had won the 
affections of Elizabeth, grand-daughter, and 
eventually heiress, of the Earl of Monmouth. 
In all the pride of youth, rank, wealth, and 
beauty, she bestowed her hand upon him in the 
darkest hour of his fortunes. Through the many 
subsequent years of danger and difficulty, her 
loyal spirit and eminent ability supported and 
aided her husband ; and when brighter days came, 
her great personal attractions, her " notable 
vivacity of wit and humour," added lustre to his 


fame and rank. She bore him a numerous 
family of seven sons and four daughters; her 
first-born was Charles, afterwards the celebrated 

Strange to say, the exact date of this extra- 
ordinary man's birth cannot now be exactly ascer- 
tained, but there is little doubt that it took place 
in the year 1658. The same obscurity hangs over 
his boyhood and education. 

Brought up in the profligate court of Charles II., 
the young Lord Mordaunt unhappily succumbed 
to its temptations. He learned to doubt the 
sacred mysteries of religion, to sneer at morality, 
and to hate the royal race. He kept a minute 
journal of his actions, thoughts, and feelings, 
during this early period, and in later life included 
it in a memoir, which he prepared for posthumous 
publication; but the confessions were of such a 
nature that his " best friend," to whom he had 
entrusted them, caused them to be destroyed. 
Probably no biography of the time would have 
been so valuable to the historian, or so enter- 
taining to the general reader, as that of this 


singular man. He was constantly engaged in 
state affairs of the greatest moment; and his 
keen perception would doubtless have opened up 
many a mystery of politics and diplomacy, while 
his airy wit and playful sarcasm would have 
thrown a charm over every subject on which he 

It is a painful necessity, thus on the very 
threshold, to cqnfess that the subject of this 
memoir was a sceptic and a libertine. But, 
having unreservedly held up these dark stains to 
the light, it will be just, as well as agreeable, to 
bring to notice also his extraordinary gifts and 
virtues, which must excite astonishment and 
almost admiration. 

Even at a very early age Mordaunt evinced a 
love for action, and zeal in his country's service. 
He soon became impatient of the unsatisfying 
joys which Charles' court provided, and longed 
for a stage whereon to act a higher part. Hap- 
pily many of the other young nobles of the day 
were also seized with a like desire for adventure 
and distinction ; it became almost a fashion to 


embark in voyages of discovery, or to seek em- 
ployment by land and sea wherever opportunity 
offered. Questionable as the morality of some of 
these expeditions might be, they were at least 
less demoralising than the habits and pursuits 
which they interrupted. 

At the close of 1674, when in his seventeenth 
year, Charles Mordaunt embarked in Admiral 
Torrington's ship, and proceeded to join Sir John 
Narborough's fleet in the Mediterranean. At 
that time Algerine corsairs infested those waters 
to the great detriment of the traders of all nations, 
and especially of the English. The Dey of 
Algiers had often heard the remonstrances of 
British envoys, but he had not felt the power 
of the distant state from whence they came. He, 
therefore, despised their threats, and turned a 
deaf ear to their complaints. His coffers were still 
stored with plundered British gold, and hundreds 
of Christian prisoners groaned under his cruel 
slavery. The evil had risen to such a height that 
even the feeble ministry of Charles II. was forced 
into action, and on the 18th of October, 1674, 


Sir John Narborough, a distinguished officer, was 
sent with a squadron to restrain and revenge the 
piratical depredations of the barbarian states of 
Tripoly and Algiers. 

On the 14th of January following, young Mor- 
daunt had for the first time an opportunity of 
action. The admiral pursued four corsair men- 
of-war of considerable force into the harbour, and 
under the very guna of the castle and fort of 
Tripoly ; there they deemed themselves secure. 
But the British were not to be thus baulked of 
their prey. As soon as night fell the boats of the 
fleet were manned and assembled under Cloudesley 
Shovel, then a lieutenant in the navy, and silently 
directed into the harbour. The surprise was 
complete. The Tripoline guard boat was car- 
ried instantly, and all the crew slain ; thence 
the assailants pushed on without delay, and suc- 
ceeded in burning all the corsair ships and de- 
stroying many of their crews. Shovel was much 
applauded for his courage and conduct upon this 
occasion, and was immediately promoted to the 
command of a ship. In his subordinate capacity 


Mordaunt also distinguished himself. More 
than thirty years afterwards these two brave 
men again reaped laurels side by side in more 
elevated positions. 

This successful exploit, seconded by the de- 
struction of some other vessels at sea, and stores 
upon the coast, at length made the Tripolines 
earnest in their desire for peace ; but they still 
hesitated to accept the conditions which the 
English admiral was determined to enforce. 
In February, with their remaining ships they 
again dared an encounter; they were defeated, 
and hardly escaped into their harbour with 
the loss of six hundred men. The Dey then 
granted all the conqueror's demands. The people, 
however, were not yet subdued ; irritated at the 
submission of their ruler, they rose against him, 
and he with difficulty escaped. Sir John Nar- 
borough, on hearing of the revolution, again 
approached Tripoly, and threatened a bombard- 
ment. This argument was successful; the new 
Dey ratified the former treaty, and the town was 
spared. Early in 1677 the fleet returned to 


England, and with it Mordaunt, who had mean- 
while succeeded to his father's titles and estates. 
John Lord Mordaunt had died on the 5th of 
June, 1675, in the forty-eighth year of his age, 
and was buried at Fulham, where a magnificent 
monument was erected to his memory by his wife, 
on her own ancestral property. 

It must have been about this time, while still 
almost a boy, that Mordaunt contracted his first 
marriage. The date, like that of his birth, is 
not ascertained ; but it is known that his eldest 
son was returned as member of Parliament for 
Chippenham when just of age in the year 1700. 
His wife was the daughter of Sir Alexander 
Fraser, of Dotes, in the shire of Mearns, North 
Britain. She bore him two sons, and a daughter, 
who became Duchess of Gordon. His marriage 
seems to have had no influence whatever upon his 
character or mode of life. 



MOKDAUNT'S spirit was altogether unsuited to 
the quiet enjoyment of domestic life, of lands, and 
of hereditary honours. He had not been many 
months at home before he began to burn once 
more for the excitement of military adventure. 
From some cause, which has never transpired, 
this son of the loyal and devoted John Mordaunt 
had imbibed a bitter hatred against the royal race, 
for whom his family had risked life and fortune. 
Even the fascinating influence of those pleasures 
which the Court abundantly offered, and which 
but too well suited his ill-regulated character, 
was insufficient to neutralise his dislike. At the 
early age of eighteen he already shared the friend- 
ship and the opinions of Lord Eussell and Algernon 
Sydney, and had identified himself with their 
cause. As yet, however, his extreme youth had 
precluded him from direct interference in political 


affairs ; an expedition fitted out for the relief of 
Tangier, then besieged by the Moors, offered an- 
other opportunity of military adventure. He ap- 
plied for employment, which he at once obtained, 
and on the 29th of September, 1678, he joined his 
Majesty's ship " Bristol," 42 guns, commanded by 
Captain Antony Langston, lying at Portsmouth, 
and destined for the Mediterranean. It does not 
appear exactly in what capacity Mordaunt sailed 
in the expedition, but probably it was as a 
volunteer, a practice not unusual at that time. 
Henry Teonge, the eccentric chaplain of the 
" Bristol," states, that on "a blustering rainy 
day, at seven o'clock at night, the Lord Mor- 
daunt and four servants came on board to go the 
voyage with us." On the 17th of October they 
put to sea with two fire-ships and a convoy of 

While tossing about in the Bay of Biscay, an 
incident occurred, strikingly illustrative of Mor- 
daunt's strange character. One Sunday the chap- 
lain was indisposed, and little capable of per- 

VOL. I, C 


forming his Sabbath duties, "when," to follow 
his own quaint description, " the Lord Mordaunt, 
taking occasion by my not being very well, would 
have preacht, askt the captaine's leave last night, 
and to that intent sate up till four in the morning 
to compose his speech, and intended to have 
Mr. Norwood to sing the psalme. All this I 
myself heard in agitation ; and resolving to pre- 
vent him, I got up in the morning before I should 
have done, had I had respect to my own health, 
and came into the greate cabin, where I found 
the zealous Lord with our Captaine, whom I did 
so handle in a smart and short discourse, that he 
went out of the cabin in greate wrath. In the 
afternoon, he set one of the carpenter's crewe to 
worke about his cabin ; and I being acquainted 
with it, did by my Captaine's order discharge the 
workeman, and he left working ; at which the 
Reverent Lord was so vexed, that he borrowed 
a hammer, and busyed himself all that day in 
nayling up his hangings ; but being done on the 
Sabbath day, and also when there was no neces- 
sity, I hope the worke will not be longe lived. 


From that day he loved neyther mee nor the 

Mordaunt subsequently made himself very 
troublesome in the ship, but probably the captain 
hesitated to take any steps against a person whose 
rank, in those days, carried immunity with it. 
The unfortunate master, however, who sided with 
him, although but the instrument in the hands of 
the insubordinate young noble, was placed in 
arrest. Towards the end of November the vice- 
admiral's ship the " Rupert," of 58 guns, op- 
portunely joined company. Mordaunt immedi- 
ately transferred himself and his retinue on board 
of her, when, as the chaplain remarks with glee, 
" his Sunday's worke is com to nothinge." 

No event worthy of particular mention occurred 
in this expedition. The " Rupert," under the 
vice-admiral, accompanied by two smaller vessels, 
cruised with some success in the Mediterranean, 
and destroyed a few of the Algerine corsairs. She 
returned to England in the autumn of 1679, and 
Mordaunt found himself once more without oc- 
cupation. Soon after his return, the question of 

c 2 


supplies for the relief of Tangier, then closely 
pressed by the King of Fez, was mooted in the 
House of Commons, in consequence of a message 
from the king. The jealous representatives of 
the people, however, as usual refused to minister 
to the royal necessities without first obtaining the 
securities they deemed requisite for the safety of 
the Protestant religion. Tangier had always been 
looked upon unfavourably by the popular party. 
It was little more than a mere personal fief of the 
crown, costly and useless to the people. It was 
also regarded as an excuse for the support of a 
standing army, whose ranks were filled chiefly by 
Papists, and whose officers were also almost ex- 
clusively of that religion. 

From his own resources, therefore, Charles was 
obliged to provide for the relief of his cherished 
appanage. A small expedition sailed for Tangier 
on the 4th of June, 1680, commanded by the 
Earl of Plymouth. He bore with him at least 
one officer who could not be accused of partiality 
for the Church of Rome, the indefatigable Lord 
Mordaunt. Although still in a subordinate po- 


sition, the young noble found means to gain dis- 
tinction; notwithstanding that he was this tune 
employed in a military capacity, the experience 
of his several former voyages in the same seas 
enhanced the value of his services. The expedi- 
tion succeeded in throwing themselves into the 
besieged town, and continued the defence with 
vigour, although suffering under heavy losses from 
climate and from the sword of the enemy. In 
October Sir Palmer Fairborn, the second in com- 
mand, was killed by a musket-ball, and in No- 
vember Lord Plymouth, the Governor, died of a 
painful disease. In the meantime the capricious 
king had sent out the Earl of Mulgrave to assume 
the command of the forces, and not long after- 
wards the ill-starred colony was abandoned al- 
together. Lord Mordaunt had soon wearied of 
the monotony of the besieged town, and before 
the close of the year had found opportunity to 
return to England. 

At this time a great excitement prevailed 
among the Country Party in consequence of the 
Royal order, that the Parliament summoned for 
c s 


the 21st of March, 1681, should meet at Oxford 
instead of within the time-honoured walls of St. 
Stephen's. The cities of London and West- 
minster murmured loudly against this decree; 
the Earl of Essex presented a petition signed by 
eight peers, praying that it might be abandoned, 
and stating that (at Oxford) " neither Lords nor 
Commons can be in safety, but will be daily ex- 
posed to the swords of the Papists and their ad- 
herents, of whom too many are crept into your 
Majesty's guards." Mordaunt was one of the 
most active promoters of this bold address, and 
the signature of his name thereto was the 
first of his political acts as a peer of the realm. 
The king frowned upon these petitioners, and 
persisted in holding the Parliament at Oxford. 
Mordaunt neither feared his frowns nor regarded 
his favour, but still treasured up animosity against 
the House of Stuart, which burst forth with 
dangerous strength when opportunity offered. 

Meanwhile, he pursued with determined vehe- 
mence all the measures which tended to thwart 
the Court. He hated both the royal brothers 


alike, and held equally unfit to reign the selfish 
voluptuary and the gloomy bigot, of whom the 
Duke of Buckingham wittily said, "The first 
could see things if he would, the other would see 
things if he could." 

The young Mordaunt supported heart and soul 
the efforts of his party to exclude the Duke of 
York from the succession to the throne, and 
though continually in a minority in the House of 
Peers, he succeeded in making himself thoroughly 
obnoxious and even formidable to the Government. 
Already he had gained a notoriety which might 
almost be called fame. Although he had barely 
reached the years of manhood, he had seen more 
of the changes and chances of life than most men 
of maturer age. He had given abundant proofs 
of courage, capacity, wit, and above all, of eccen- 
tricity. It was known that he was an accom- 
plished scholar, as well as a daring soldier and 
sailor. While he hurried backwards and forwards 
to and from the Mediterranean, while he pursued 
piratical Algerines, or laboured in the defence of 
Tangier, his mind was as active as his body. He 

c 4 


stored up the treasures of classic learning, and en- 
riched his memory with the best works of the 
English and French modern writers. 

Mordaunt's politics have been described as " too 
disinterested for his age and country." Although 
far from wealthy, and brought up in the presence 
of dangerous example, nothing of corruption or 
meanness was ever laid to his charge ; his naturally 
open and generous spirit revolted from baseness 
and venality, even when exhibited in those most 
closely connected with himself. Both his father 
and his uncle in the time of prosperity had not a 
little tarnished the fair renown which they had won 
in dangers and difficulties. In the very year of the 
Restoration John Lord Mordaunt had been base 
enough to receive WOOL from Colonel Morley 
as the price of intercession for a pardon ; and six 
years afterwards he was brought to account before 
the House of Commons by a Captain Taylor, for 
tyranny, suborning witnesses, and other shameful 
offences while Governor of Windsor Castle, but, 
being protected by the king, the inquiry was 


abandoned. The elder brother, the Earl of Peter- 
borough, who was for some years Governor 
of Tangier, does not appear to have rendered a 
very satisfactory account of his actions in that 
office, and on his return he urged his claim to a 
pension more on account of the embarrassed state 
of his affairs than from the consciounsess of any 
particular merit. In his later years he became a 
Roman Catholic at a time when such apostasies 
were rather too advantageous to obtain much 
credit for sincerity; but his former friends con- 
soled themselves by saying that he did not abandon 
his religion till he had lost his intellect. 

The young Lord Mordaunt had not yet become 
sufficiently conspicuous to attract the same degree 
of dangerous notice which the Court gave to his 
friends Lord Russell and Algernon Sidney. He 
had not been admitted to the fatal privilege 
of their private councils, and thus escaped the 
toils of Judge Jeffreys and his royal master. He 
however openly displayed his sympathy for those 
great and good men, and for the principles in 


which they died. He continued his friendship 
with them to the last, and accompanied Algernon 
Sidney to the scaffold. 

But even while Mordaunt enjoyed the elevating 
associations of these noble minds, he indulged at 
times in freaks of strange folly and eccentricity. 
Lady Suffolk relates one of his adventures at 
this period told her by himself, which contrasts 
ludicrously with the stirring events in which he 
was then engaged. He was in love, or fancied 
himself in love, with a young lady who was very 
fond of birds ; she had seen and heard a remark- 
ably fine canary in a coffee-house near Charing 
Cross, and entreated her lover, in proof of his af- 
fection, to obtain it for her. The owner of this 
coveted pet was a widow, who was so much at- 
tached to it that she refused an enormous price 
which Mordaunt offered. He was, however, de- 
termined to gain his point by foul means, since 
fair had failed. By great exertion he managed to 
obtain another bird of exactly the same size and 
colour, but it chanced to be a voiceless hen ; he then 
frequented the house to await his opportunity. 


The landlady usually sat in a room behind the 
bar, always accompanied by her beloved canary, 
of which she seldom lost sight. One day Mor- 
daunt, under some pretext, contrived to get her 
out of the way for a few minutes, and with great 
dexterity, exchanged his bird with that of the 
hostess, and carried off the prize undiscovered. 
Shortly after the Revolution, he, for the first time, 
ventured to touch upon this dangerous subject to 
the landlady, saying, " I would have bought that 
bird of yours, and you refused my money for it ; 
I dare say you are by this time sorry for it." 
" Indeed, sir," answered she, " I am not, nor 
would I now take any money for him ; for, would 
you believe it ? from the time that our good king 
was forced to go abroad and leave us, the dear 
creature has not sung a note." 

King James's speech from the throne in 1685, 
gave an opportunity to the enemies of his despotic 
policy for declaring their sentiments of hostility ; 
the address of the Commons was little more than 
a remonstrance against the repeated violations of 
the "Test Act," which had occurred since the 


late accession. In the Lords an animated debate 
arose on the question of thanking the king for 
his speech, which the courtiers pressed as a form 
of respect that was always due. Lord Halifax 
said, with bitter sarcasm, " that they had now more 
reason than ever to give thanks to His Majesty 
for having dealt so plainly with them." The 
House, not being called upon to proceed to votes 
of supply as the Commons had been, remained 
some days without coming to a decision, till they 
were roused into action by the king's imperious 
answer to the address of the Lower House. 

At length, on the 19th of November, the answer 
was brought under discussion. Lord Devonshire 
moved that the standing army should be taken 
into consideration on the ground of its danger 
and illegality. He was supported by Lords 
Halifax, Nottingham, and even by the aged and 
loyal Lord Anglesea, whose horror of the Roman 
Catholic religion overcame his instinct of obedi- 
ence to the " divine right" of the Crown. But 
the speech which, far beyond others, attracted 
notice, was that of the young and impetuous 


Lord Mordaunt. " Let us not," he said, " like 
the House of Commons, speak of jealousy and 
mistrust ; ambiguous measures inspire those feel- 
ings. What we now see is not ambiguous. A 
standing army is on foot, filled with officers who 
cannot be allowed to serve without overthrowing 
the laws. To keep up a standing army when 
there is neither civil nor foreign war, is to esta- 
blish that arbitrary government which English- 
men hold in such just abhorrence." 

This spirited and characteristic speech, the first 
which he had ever spoken in the House, excited 
great interest, and filled his party with hopes of 
his future distinction ; but, even in this remark- 
able address, there was evidence of that vague un- 
certainty of purpose and strange unsoundness of 
mind which ever prevented this singularly gifted 
man from rising to greatness. Jeffreys the 
judge then Lord Chancellor, followed on the 
side of the Court. He urged that the thanks 
already voted were an approval of the royal 
speech, and that therefore the subject was closed. 
His scurrilous invective, and the tone and gesture 


of menace with which he was used to terrify wit- 
nesses and juries, roused the wrath of the Lords 
instead of overawing them. Jeffreys soon quailed 
under the indignation of such men as Mordaunt 
and Halifax, and from insolent audacity, sank into 
grovelling meanness. His defeat was signal, for 
in a House where nearly every qualified peer was 
present, the motion for taking the Address into 
consideration was carried without a division. 

Mordaunt had long been under the displeasure 
of the Court, and now more than ever was he a 
marked man. But as he had not by any overt 
act placed himself within the grasp of the law, he 
only suffered to the extent of being excluded from 
all public employment. This, however, was to 
him a serious deprivation. His profuse generosity 
was ill supplied by limited means, and he had 
fallen into pecuniary embarrassments. He there 
fore determined to seek elsewhere those oppor- 
tunities of action which were denied to him at 
home. Hatred of Popery and of despotic power 
naturally inclined him to turn his attention to 
Holland, the stronghold of liberty and Protes- 


tantism. He solicited leave to serve abroad, a 
favour which was granted with alacrity, and in 
1686 he quitted England with the professed in- 
tention of accepting a command in the Dutch 
fleet then about to sail for the West Indies. 

When Mordaunt arrived in Holland he pre- 
sented himself immediately to the Prince of Orange, 
and, first among the British nobility, boldly pro- 
posed to William an immediate invasion of England. 
He pushed his arguments with fiery zeal ; he urged 
the disaffection of all classes, the hatred of the 
Commons, the defection of the Lords, the alarm 
of the Church, and the wavering loyalty of the 
army. But of all this the wary Prince was al- 
ready well informed. He listened with inward 
pleasure to the repetition of the counsel that lay 
nearest to his heart ; but his was not a temper to 
be infected by the enthusiasm of the high-spirited 
young Englishman : he therefore declined any im- 
mediate movement, and only " promised in general 
to have an eye on the affairs of England ; and 
that he should endeavour to put the affairs of 
Holland in so good a posture as to be ready to 


act when it should be necessary ; and he assured 
him, that if the king should go about either to 
change the established religion, or to wrong the 
princess in her right, or to raise forged plots to 
destroy his friends, he would try what he could 
possibly do." 

This reception of Mordaunt's counsel, although 
it fell short of his ardent hopes, did not damp his 
exertions for the great purpose upon which his 
mind was bent. He continued in Holland until 
the Revolution, and progressed much in the 
Prince's favour. Bishop Burnet states that he 
was " one whom his highness chiefly trusted, and 
by whose advice he governed his motions." Never- 
theless, when the "Declaration" prepared by 
William was shown to the English malcontents 
then assembled at the Hague, Mordaunt joined 
with Wildman, a known republican, and others, 
in objecting to certain passages, which they con- 
ceived would lead to too close a community with 
the Church party in England. The objections 
were, not without difficulty, overcome by altering 
a few expressions in the proposed declaration, and 
omitting some sentences. 


Lord Mordaunt's jealousy of the Church of 
England was wholly political. All systems of 
faith and worship were alike indifferent to his 
dreary scepticism. But to the clergy, as the de- 
clared advocates of passive obedience, he enter- 
tained a strong hostility. He despised their at- 
tempts to exalt an undistinguishing loyalty, and 
submission to an alleged Divine right, to the 
rank of the highest duty. His apparent zeal for 
the Protestant religion in the matter of the Test 
Act proceeded simply from his hatred to Popery, 
and his activity in advancing William to the 
throne was prompted only by his hatred to James. 
The sceptic and republican chose an indepen- 
dent faith and a constitutional king as the least 
among evils. 

During his stay in Holland at this time, Mor- 
daunt was fortunate enough to form an intimate 
friendship with the celebrated Mr. Locke, which 
continued uninterrupted for many years. A por- 
tion of their subsequent correspondence still is 
extant, and proves their wit as well as their mutual 

VOL. I. D 



AT length the great day came when the Prince 
of Orange was to sail for England. Deeply as con- 
temporary men must have felt the importance of 
this enterprise, they could not have overestimated 
its influence on the future destinies of their coun- 
try. On the SOth of October, 1688, the Dutch 
fleet sailed from the Flats, near Brill, for Eng- 
land, under the command of Admiral Herbert. 
There was the calm and inflexible William 
there the generous Earl of Shrewsbury, who had 
pledged goods and lands for the expedition there 
was the chivalrous and eccentric Mordaunt, whose 
father had risked his life to restore the royal race 
now about to be swept away for ever, there 
were a Russell and a Sidney, the blood of whose 
kindred lay a red stain upon the House of Stuart, 
there was the great Marshal Schomberg, one 
of the ablest captains of the day there was Ar- 


gyle, the son of him who had lost his life in the 
cause of the Reformed Faith, and above the 
ship that bore the chief of their illustrious band 
there waved a flag bearing the sacred motto, " The 
Protestant Religion and Liberties of England." 

A dreadful storm raged for three days during 
the voyage, and seriously damaged the Dutch 
fleet. When this disaster to his enemy was 
reported to James II., he said laughing, to M. 
de Barillon, the French ambassador, " At last, 
then, the wind has declared itself Papist ; " then 
resuming his usual serious air, and altering his 
voice, he continued, " You know that for these 
three days I have ordered the Holy Sacrament 
to go in procession." Such was then the king of 
Protestant England ! 

It is needless to speak here of the further de- 
lays that occurred, or of the ultimately successful 
landing and progress of the Prince of Orange to 
his almost bloodless victory. During this critical 
time, when the fate of millions and of generations 
yet unborn stood in the balance, Mordaunt, as 
ever, played a prominent part. 

D 2 


The first commission that William signed in 
England was to him as lieutenant-colonel of horse ; 
but so "curious" was he in the choice and picking 
of his men, that he was as long raising his regi- 
ment as the unhappy Monmouth had been in 
raising an army : nevertheless, he was in time to 
render valuable aid at Exeter in opening the way 
for the Prince of Orange. . 

Captain Hicks, the brother of the Non-confor- 
mist minister who had suffered under Jeffreys, 
had been sent to that city, to feel the pulse of the 
inhabitants, and to enlist such as offered into the 
Prince's service. But no sooner had he arrived 
and begun to enter upon his commission, than he 
was apprehended by a warrant from the mayor, 
and an order was made out for his arrest, but 
it was not executed for fear of the populace. 
He was nevertheless detained in custody, and so 
continued till Lord Mordaunt, with Dr. Burnet 
and three or four troops of horse, came up to 
enforce his release. There were no soldiers in 
the place, nor was it capable of defence. The 
gates were nevertheless shut for form's sake against 
the Prince and his partisans, as against enemies ; 


nor, when Lord Mordaunt had obtained admit- 
tance, on his requiring them to be opened on 
pain of death, would the mayor acknowledge his 
Highness in any capacity, or pay him any com- 
pliment or accept of any deputation from him. 
The next day, the fourth after his landing, the 
Prince entered, but met with no countenance. 

William still lay at Exeter, and while a terrible 
uncertainty hung over the great cause, Mordaunt 
pushed boldly on into Wiltshire, unfurled the 
standard of liberty, and began to raise fresh 
troops in the name, and by the commission, of 
William of Orange. At first he met with but 
little success in that district, for the spirit of the 
West had been bent, if not broken, by the 
atrocities of Jeffreys and Kirke, and the enthu- 
siasm of the peasantry seemed buried in the tomb 
of the hapless Monmouth. In the meantime, 
events hurried on so rapidly elsewhere, that 
Mordaunt's sword was not destined then to leave 
its scabbard, and the tide flowed so strongly in 
favour of the welcome invader, that all Dorset- 
shire came in a body and joined him. 

D 8 


In the North, however, a resistance was still 
expected, and Mordaunt was sent off to super- 
intend the muster of the royal troops. He gives 
an account of some of his proceedings at this 
time, in a letter to Mr. Locke, dated " New- 
castle, January 9. 1689: 1 must begin with 
a description of Lord Delamere's army : it wanted 
nothing to be a complete regiment but clothes, 
boots, arms, horses, and men. There was never 
anything so scandalous as that the king should 
have paid him near 90007. already to that rout. 
Some of our lords take their rest, others their 
pleasure. I go to-morrow to Berwick to examine 
some regiments, and come back the day after to 
Newcastle; a pleasant journey! At least no 
reproach shall lie at my door. For I can say 
that pleasure, when engaged in business, never 
made me go an inch out of my way." 

Lord Mordaunt's services in the Revolution 
were considered so important, that immediately 
on the accession of William and Mary, he was 
summoned as a privy councillor, and also made 
one of the lords of the bedchamber. On the 8th 


of April, 1689, another office of more importance 
was conferred upon him, that of first commissioner 
of the treasury. In this department were, how- 
ever, associated with him men of very uncon- 
genial characters the Earl of Warrington, 
lately Lord Delamere, who sold his patronage 
with unblushing effrontery, and Lord Godolphin, 
whom Mordaunt neither liked nor trusted. 

While holding this office, the first commissioner 
displayed alike his generosity, and the extreme 
bent of his political principles. He filled all 
places in his gift with men of republican prin- 
ciples, and even in those trying times, kept him- 
self above all imputation of corruption. His 
hatred and contempt for the venality of his 
colleague, Lord Warrington, soon placed them in 
bitter hostility to each other. 

The day after Mordaunt's promotion to the 
treasury, on the 9th of April, 1689, he was 
advanced to the dignity of Earl of Monmouth. 
It is said that he was the only person who would 
accept the title which had been so lately borne 
by the unhappy son of Charles II., and which it 

D 4 


was deemed advisable should be given away thus 
to break up the old and dangerous associations of 
the name. The more probable reason was, how- 
ever, that the title had been formerly in his 
mother's family. His maternal grandfather had 
been Earl of Monmouth. 

On the 30th of May, the same year, he was 
also made Gustos Rotulorum of the County of 
Northampton. When an address of the lord 
mayor and the City of London was presented, 
and the more substantial tribute of a regiment of 
horse was also by them placed at His Majesty's 
disposal, Lord Monmouth was appointed to its 
command, the king himself being colonel. Shortly 
afterwards, on a state occasion, this corps, " richly 
and gallantly accoutred, and led by the Earl of 
Monmouth, attended their majesties from White- 
hall to the City." The great influence which he 
now enjoyed was used by him in endeavouring to 
advance his friends, as well as in gaining rewards 
for himself. He procured that the offer of the 
important post of envoy to Berlin should be made 
to Mr. Locke. The compliment was gratefully 


acknowledged, but the appointment was declined 
on the ground of ill health. 

In the early part of this same year, Monmouth 
was one of six who nobly stood up for the defence 
of religious freedom, against the overwhelming 
majority of their peers. The king having made 
an effort to dispense with the application of the 
sacramental test, in the case of those appointed to 
hold office under the crown, was signally defeated. 
But these six peers protested against the narrow 
bigotry of exclusion for reasons so excellent, that 
the mature liberality of happier days has not been 
capable of improving upon them. Not long 
afterwards, however, Monmouth again appeared 
as a protester against a decision of the House of 
Lords, that laymen should not be admitted into 
a commission about to be instituted, for the 
purpose of devising the best means for " uniting 
their majesties' Protestant subjects." In this case 
he seems to have been actuated by direct hostility 
to the Church of England. 

Monmouth soon found further opportunity 
of exhibiting his jealousy of the established 


religion. When the king laid before the privy 
council the remarkable speech of his own com- 
position, which he had prepared for the opening 
of Parliament in 1689, it met with unanimous 
approval in every expression but one, and to that 
Monmouth was the sole objector ; in deference to 
him, " The Church of England is one of the 
greatest supports of the Protestant religion " was 
substituted for " The Church of England is the 
chief support of the Protestant religion," as the 
sentence originally stood. 

Hitherto Monmouth, and the party with which 
he acted, had in most respects coincided with the 
king, but a question now arose that speedily 
infused jealousies between them. The Whigs 
introduced a bill, the real object of which was to 
take the management of the militia out of the 
royal power, and commit it to that of the people. 
Many of those who had formerly possessed most 
of the king's confidence had lately found a 
coldness growing upon him, which aroused their 
disgust, and inspired them with a dread of having 
to recommence a struggle against the undue 


exercise of prerogative; and now upon the first 
indication, as they held it, of this danger, they 
joined issue. The Whigs were beaten, but the 
leaders of both parties had attained an unhappy 
success, in infusing mutual jealousies between the 
king and those who should have been his firmest 
supporters. The Earl of Nottingham on the side 
of the king, and the Earls of Monmouth and 
Warrington against His Majesty, were equally 
active in this mischievous occupation of sowing 
dissensions among those who had been the pro- 
moters of the Revolution. On one occasion, 
during the discussion of a vote of supply, when 
Mr. Hampden spoke in the House of Commons 
of the danger to which the nation was exposed, 
of falling into the hands of the French and Irish, 
an opposition member sarcastically moved " and 
of the Dutch." 

Even in the first year after the Revolution 
these discontents ripened into conspiracies. Sir 
James Montgomery, a Scottish Presbyterian, 
entered into a correspondence with the ex-king's 
party in England. He demanded from them 


assurance of full indemnity for the past, and the 
settlement of the Presbytery in Scotland. It 
is certain that he found means of communicating 
with the principal Whigs, and obtained some 
credit with them, especially with the Duke of 
Bolton, and the Earl of Monmouth. He used 
his utmost endeavours to incite them against the 
king, not without success, as their enemies affirm. 
It is unnecessary to state here how the plot was 
discovered and thwarted ; however, King William 
evidently did not believe that his own ministers 
were concerned in it. A conversation with Lord 
Monmouth, related by Bishop Burnet, and the 
fact of his being soon after removed from the post 
of first commissioner of the treasury, have led 
many to the belief that this strange man was 
actually implicated in the conspiracy against a 
king whom he had so lately risked everything to 
enthrone. A much more probable reason for the 
dismissal is afforded in the fact, that the Parlia- 
ment then summoned proved hostile to the first 
commissioner. An attempt was made to form a 
coalition ministry of Whigs and Tories; Lords 


Monmouth and Warrington were displaced. 
Other changes were also made in inferior places. 
But in the following year, when the king went to 
excise the Irish ulcer which still preyed on the 
strength of the State, he left a council of nine 
(the nine kings as they were called) to assist 
Queen Mary in all public affairs during his 
absence; in this body, indeed, the Tories pre- 
dominated, but the Earl of Monmouth was one 
of the members ; with him was associated another 
man of his own party, alternately his friend and 
enemy, his patron and assailant, Lord John 
Churchill, afterwards the great Duke of Marl- 
borough. This position of peculiar and somewhat 
delicate trust would in itself seem sufficient con- 
tradiction to the vague and rather insinuated 
rumour, of his having been dismissed for conspiring 
against the king. 

The members of this council of nine were, Lord 
Danby, president, Lords Pembroke, Devonshire, 
Nottingham, Godolphin, Marlborough, and Mon- 
mouth, Admiral Russell, and Sir John Lowther. 
They were all men of influence, and possessors of 


appointments about the Court ; and yet it has been 
freely asserted that six of them were in secret cor- 
respondence with the dethroned king. From the 
first they seemed to have been viewed with mis- 
trust by the Queen herself. On the 6th of July s 
1690, she writes to King William: "By this 
express I shall write freely and tell you what 
great suspicions increase continually of Major 
Wildman. It would be too long to tell you all 
the reasons of suspicion, but this one instance I 
will give, that since your going from hence, there 
is not one word from Scotland, neither from Lord 
Melville nor Colonel Mackay to Lord Marl- 
borough, which, methinks, is unaccountable." 

The Major Wildman named in this letter had 
been notoriously engaged in all the plots for the 
last forty years : he appears to have been then 
secretary to Lord Monmouth, and no doubt the 
association was highly injurious to the latter. 

At this time news was daily expected from the 
fleet under Lord Torrington, which was soon 
destined to receive the severest blow the British 
navy had ever felt. The admiral was suspected 


by the Queen's cabinet, and the council of nine 
hampered him by their commands and interference. 
His position was difficult ; the abominable cor- 
ruption of the times, fostered by the evils of a 
revolution, had worked its way upon the public 
stores, and almost destroyed the great naval re- 
sources left by the preceding king. A severe 
discomfiture had been experienced the year before 
at Bantry Bay, which had lowered the morale of 
the sailors. Moreover, he had the misfortune of 
being on bad terms with, and almost suspected by, 
the Dutch admiral Evertzen. The Dutchman 
advised an engagement ; the Englishman, pain- 
fully aware of the miserable condition of his fleet, 
disapproved, and only aspired to defend the coast 
from invasion. This view he communicated to 
the Queen, who laid it before her council of nine, 
with what result the following letter from Her 
Majesty to King William will show : 

" Lord Nottingham says Lord Steward (Lord 
Devonshire) was very angry at Lord Torrington's 
deferring the fight, and proposed that somebody 
should be joined in commission with him. But the 


other lords said that could not be done ; so Lord 
Monmouth offered to take one whose name I have 
forgot (he is newly made commissioner of the navy, 
and, as Lord Nottingham tells me, you had thoughts 
of having him command the fleet if Lord Torrington 
had not) ; this man Lord Monmouth proposed to take 
and go together on board Lord Torrington's ship as 
volunteers, but with a commission about them to take 
the command in case he should be killed. I told 
Nottingham I was not willing to grant any commission 
of that nature, not knowing whether you ever had any 
thoughts of that kind, so that I thought he was only 
to be thanked for his ofler. I added, that I could not 
think it proper that he, being one of the nine you 
had named, should be sent away. Upon which 
Lord Nottingham laughed, and said, * that was the 
greatest compliment I could make Lord Monmouth, 
to say I could not make use of his arm, having need 
of his counsel.' I suppose they are not very good 
friends, but I said it really as I meant. 

" Mr. Russell drew up a pretty sharp letter (to 
Lord Torrington) for me to sign, but it was softened, 
and the only dispute was whether he should have a 
positive order to fight. At last it was wrote in such 
terms as you shall see, to which all agreed but Lord 
Steward (Devonshire), who said, ' it was his duty to 
tell his thoughts upon a subject of this consequence,' 


which was, 'that he believed it very dangerous to 
trust Lord Torrington with the fate of three king- 
doms, and that he was absolutely of opinion that some 
other should be joined in commission with him; 'to 
which Mr. Russell answered, ' You must send for him 
prisoner then,' and all concluded that it would breed 
too much disturbance in sight of the enemy. 

" I was no sooner abed than Lord Nottingham came 
to me from the Lords, who were most of them still at 
his office, where Lord Monmouth was come very late, 
but time enough to know all. He offered his service 
immediately to go down post to Portsmouth (so that 
the Admiralty would give him the commission of a 
captain), and fit out the best ship there, which he 
believes he can do with more speed than another, with 
which he will join Lord Torrington, and being in a 
great passion, swears ' he will never come back again 
if they do not fight.' Upon his earnest desire, and 
approbation of the Lords who were present, Lord 
Nottingham came up to ask my consent. I asked who 
was there ? and finding four besides Lord Monmouth 
and Lord Nottingham, I remember but the names of 
three of them, which were the Lord President (Danby), 
Lord Steward (Devonshire), and Sir John Lowther, 
but the fourth was either Lord Pembroke or Lord 
Marlborough, I thought in myself that they were 
two-thirds of the committee, so would carry it if put 

VOL. I. E 


to the vote ; therefore, seeing they were as earnest as 
he for it, I thought I might consent." 

To Monmouth's great annoyance, his absence 
made very little sensation ; indeed, to the Queen 
it was positively a relief, as thereby the sources 
of many harassing suspicions were removed ; yet 
the sequel showed that the advantage of his ab- 
sence was dearly purchased by entrusting him 
with a ship of war. 

The strange story of the lemon-juice letters 
explains the motive which actuated the Queen 
and her council in accepting so willingly Lord 
Monmouth's offer of service in the fleet. About 
four days before King William went to Ireland, 
Monmouth had shown him a letter, written in 
lemon juice, in such a manner that it only became 
legible after the application of heat, affirming that 
it had been intercepted by Major Wildman; it 
Avas directed to M. Coutenay, Amsterdam, and 
purported to inform him of every thing that was 
done in the most secret councils of the King, and, 
subsequently to his departure, of every thing that 
was done by the Queen and the committee of 
nine. The minute accuracy of information which 


these letters displayed gave rise to strong sus- 
picions that they must have been concocted by 
a member of the council. Attention was soon 
turned upon the gifted but eccentric earl, and 
the Marquis of Carmarthen directly expressed his 
opinion to King William that the letters were 
contrived by Lord Monmouth, with Major Wild- 
man's assistance, in the view of creating strife 
and mistrust in the royal counsels. The Queen 
in a more guarded manner indicates her similar 
suspicions in a letter to the King : 

" I own to you that I had a thought which I would 
not own, though I found some of the Lords have the 
same, about the lemon letters (which I suppose you 
have heard of), which come so constantly and are so 
very exact, the last of which told even the debates 
of the committee, as well as if one of the Lords them- 
selves had writ them. This, I think, looks somewhat 
odd, and I believe makes many forward for this 
expedition ; and, for my own part, I believe he [Mon- 
mouth] may be best spared of the company ; though 
I think it a little irregularity, yet I hope you will 
excuse it, and nobody else can find fault. 

" Ten at night. 

" Since my writing this, there has come a great deal 

E 2 


of news. As I was going to the Cabinet Council, Sir 
William Lockhart came with a letter from the com- 
mittee. Lord Monmouth was there, after having been 
in the city, where he has found one Major Born (I 
think his name is), who has the commission of captain 
and not himself, he desiring that his instructions may 
be kept as secret as may be, lest he should come too 
late. In the mean time, his regiment being at Ports- 
mouth is the pretence. He (Lord Monmouth) made 
great professions at parting, and desired me to believe 
that there are some great designs. We had another 
lemon letter, with things so particular that none but 
some of the Lords could know them, especially things 
that were done at the office late last night ; upon 
which all sides are of the same mind." 

It will be seen by this letter that there was 
a wide difference between the rules of the naval 
service in those days and in ours : we find Lord 
Monmouth laying a sort of claim to the command 
of a ship of the line, because his regiment lay 
at Portsmouth. Although many of the land 
officers, himself among others, had won distinc- 
tion at sea during the triumphant maritime suc- 
cesses of James II., he had latterly issued the 


wise order that none should command ships who 
had not served a proper apprenticeship to a naval 
life. His daughter failed to continue this re- 
striction, and the lamentable defeat of Beachy 
Head was one of the consequences. 

The restless and ambitious Monmouth aspired 
to the command of the whole fleet, a trust which 
Queen Mary was indisposed to confide to his 
somewhat doubtful fidelity. In the mean time 
Lord Torrington, urged on by others, against 
his own sounder judgment, fought and lost 
the great naval battle of Beachy Head, and 
Monmouth returned to London without having 
embarked at all. Queen Mary says, in a 
letter informing William III. of the defeat, 
" I confess I was not sorry Monmouth came so 
soon back, for all agree in the same opinion of 
him : " and again she writes the following day, 
describing the proceedings of her council of nine ; 
that they unanimously agreed to send two of 
their number to superintend the movements of 
the remains of the fleet, while Lord Torrington 
should be brought to trial. Lord Monmouth 

E 3 


and Mr. Russell, the only two among them who 
had any professional experience, both excused 
themselves to the Queen ; the former ostensibly 
because he was related to the admiral about 
to be tried, but really because he was not ac- 
tually to command the fleet, and the latter pro- 
bably for the same reason, but professedly be- 
cause he had long served under Lord Torrington. 
" I spoke to Lord Monmouth, who I saw was 
dissatisfied ; and I told him I knew it was not 
fit for him to go to sea, who was a seaman, with- 
out the command: and that, he heard, was by 
all agreed for the present, Sir John Ashley 
should have, for an encouragement to the rest 
to behave well, as he had done on this occasion ; 
he told me he thought he had reason to expect 
it, because you had once thoughts of sending 
him to command, but he was content with any- 
thing as he said ; as for that I never heard you 
say it, and if you knew what I shall tell you, if 
ever I live to see you, you will wonder." 

" Lord Monmouth daily tells me of the great 
danger we are in, and now has a mind to be sent 


to Holland (of which you will hear either by this 
or the next post). I see every one is inclined to 
it, for a reason I mentioned before, and indeed 
things have but a melancholy aspect." 

Queen Mary displayed great shrewdness in 
her management of her council, in none of whom 
could she implicitly trust. She had, however, 
the advantage of their disliking and suspecting 
each other, so much as to prevent any dangerous 
combination. Mr. Russell had been the first to 
suggest to her the very strong probability that 
Lord Monmouth and Major Wildman had con- 
trived the lemon letters between them, for the 
purpose of their being intercepted, and thus to 
encourage doubts and disunion among the council- 
lors. While Monmouth and his colleague Wild- 
man were away at the fleet these letters ceased, 

but recommenced directly upon their return. 


Unaware that the Queen suspected his com- 
plicity in the plot, Lord Monmouth sedulously 
used every opportunity of insinuating distrust 
to her of his fellow councillors. She writes the 

E 4 


following account of a singular interview with 
him to King William : 

" I had a conversation with Lord Monmouth the 
other morning, in which he said ' what a misfortune 
it was that things thus went ill, which was certainly 
the fault of those that were in trust ; that it was a 
melancholy thing to the nation to see themselves thus 
thrown away. And to speak plain,' said he, ' do not 
you see how all you do is known, that what is said 
one day in the cabinet council, is wrote next day to 
France. For my part,' added he, 'I must speak 
plainly ; I have a great deal of reason to esteem Lord 
Nottingham ; I don't believe 'tis he, but 'tis some one 
in his office,' and then he fell on Mr. Blaithwith. 
I owned ' I wondered why you would let him [Lord 
Monmouth] serve here, since he would not go with 
you ; but,' I said, ' I suppose you knew why you did 
it : ' and when he began to talk high of ill adminis- 
tration, I told him in the same freedom that he seemed 
to speak to me, that, ' I found it very strange you 
were not thought fit to choose your own ministers ; 
that they had already removed Lord Halifax, the 
same endeavours were used for Lord Carmarthen, 
and would they now begin to make a bout at Lord 
Nottingham too ? It would show they would pretend 
even to control the king in his choice, which, if I 


were he, I would not suffer, but would make use of 
whom I pleased.' I cannot tell if I did well or no in 
this, but in the free way we were speaking I could 
not help it. Upon this Lord Monmouth said ' he had 
indeed been an enemy to Lord Halifax, but he had 
done what he could to save Lord Carmarthen, out 
of personal friendship, as well as because he believed 
him firm to our interest.' Upon which I took occa- 
sion to remember my obligations to him [Lord Car- 
marthen] on account of our marriage, from which he 
[Lord Monmouth] still went on, ' that he thought it 
necessary the nation should be satisfied.' I asked 
him 'if he thought that possible;' he said, 'that he 
could tell me much on that subject.' But we were 
called to council, and so our discourse ended for that 

The evident object of Monmouth at this time 
was to create as great confusion and distrust as 
possible, in not only the government, but also in 
the royal family. Already he was tired of the 
reign of the Dutch king, and longed for the 
Commonwealth, which he dreamed would open 
a wider field for his own reckless ambition. He 
was aware that William had warned the queen 
against appearing too frequently at the privy 


council; and he adroitly encouraged the dis- 
content of that body at her absence from their 
deliberations. One afternoon factions ran very 
high in the privy council; in the midst of the 
murmurs about the queen's absence, Lord Mon- 
mouth and the lord steward (Devonshire) thought 
fit to leave their seats at the council board, and 
enter her private apartments, where they en- 
treated her to accompany them back to appease 
the malcontents. The queen, who shrewdly sus- 
pected Lord Monmouth to be the leader of the 
storm, and dreading the king's displeasure if she 
appeared too often at the public council, refused 
to go. She thus describes the affair in a letter to 
His Majesty : 

"I was surprised at it [the visit of Lords Mon- 
mouth and Devonshire], for they sent for me out of 
my closet. I will not trouble you with all they 
said, but they were very pressing, and lord steward 
told me there were many there who absolutely told 
him they would not speak but before me ; that they 
were privy councillors established by law, and did 
not know why they should be denied my presence ? 
I answered them first as civilly as I could, and as 


calmly, but being much pressed I grew a little peevish, 
and told them that, between us, I thought it a humour 
in some of them, which I did not think myself bound 
to please : for should I come now to this, I should at 
last be sent for when anybody had a mind to it. But 
all I could say would not satisfy them ; and had not 
Lord Nottingham come in, I believe they would not 
have left me so soon." 

Five days after the dispatch of the foregoing 
letter, the queen writes to her husband that 

" I had yesterday an offer made me of 200,000/., to 
be lent upon a note under my hand, that it should be 
paid as soon as the parliament gave the money, but 
it was only on this condition, that the parliament 
should be dissolved ; I told Lord Monmouth, who 
made me the proposition, that was a thing I could 
not promise, it being of that consequence, that though 
all the lords of the great council should unanimously 
agree to, yet I would not venture upon it without 
knowing your pleasure. He said many extraordinary 
things in this discourse, which I reserve to tell you." 

In Queen Mary's further correspondence with 
the king, Lord Monmouth is repeatedly men- 
tioned as intriguing for the sole command of the 


fleet, in which, however, he was obviously un- 
supported by any one of the council of nine. 
Desirous though they all were to get rid of him 
from among themselves, they dared not trust him 
with so great a power. 



IRELAND being subdued, and the king having 
returned to England, in the beginning of January, 
1691, he undertook a voyage to his well-beloved 
Holland, notwithstanding the severity of the 
season. On the 16th, he embarked at Gravesend 
with a numerous retinue, among whom was 
Monmouth. A convoy of twelve men of war, 
commanded by Admiral Rooke, accompanied 
them. On the 18th, the king was informed by a 
fisherman, that he was within a league and a half 
of the land: this was too good news to be 
neglected : weary of the inactivity of sea life, he 
entrusted himself to a small shallop, and made for 
the shore. With him were those " nearest his 
confidence," the good Duke of Ormond, the Earls 
of Shrewsbury, Monmouth, and a few others. 
The seamen themselves did not like the expe- 


dition ; the frost had been unusually severe, and 
the ice along the low and dangerous coast was so 
thick, as to render landing very difficult. The 
prospect was such that even Monmouth himself 
endeavoured to dissuade the king from the 
adventure, but could not shake his resolution. 
He and his noble escort put off from the fleet, and 
for eighteen hours, in an open boat, lightly clothed, 
and at times in peril, they were tossed about 
by the wind and waves. However, neither he nor 
his companions were sufferers from this exposure. 
About two in the afternoon they landed in safety 
near Maeslandsluys, and at six in the evening 
reached the Hague. 

When the proper ceremonies of the king's 
reception had been gone through, was opened 
" the most glorious congress that ever yet appeared 
of Christian princes and ministers," to concert 
measures with King William for the liberty of 
Europe against the encroachments of France. 
Among the nobles who formed the suite of the 
English king, none was more sincere in hostility 
to the designs of France than the Earl of Mon- 


mouth. In April he returned with the king to 
London, where they arrived on the 13th. 

In November of this year Monmouth was 
again active at his post in the House of Lords. 
On a question which then arose with the 
Commons, he stood up for his order against an 
apparent interference on the part of the lower 
chamber, and was one of the seven peers who 
were selected to hold conference on the subject. 
He and his associates, however, failed in recon- 
ciling the opposite opinions of the two bodies, 
and, subsequently, the matter dropped, and was 

Monmouth had, throughout his ministerial 
appointments and dismissals, continued to com- 
mand his regiment of Royal Horse Guards. 
The opportunity of action opened to him by the 
continental war, in 1792, was gladly seized. He 
embarked with his corps, which was ordered on 
that duty, and served, as it is said, " with dis- 
tinction" during the campaign. No record 
remains of his individual actions in this sub- 
ordinate command ; but his experience acquired 


there was doubtless valuable to him, when in 
after times he played a more important part, and 
his daring and energetic character became then 
known to his military superiors. 

There was, however, little in this campaign to 
satisfy Monmouth's ambition and love of glory. 
He indignantly witnessed the fall of Namur, 
while a swollen river only separated the relieving 
army, to which he belonged, from an equal 
enemy. He and his Koyal Horse Guards, at the 
battle of Steenkirk, fought stoutly in the British 
van, and hardly escaped from the disasters which 
incapacity or treason brought on that inglorious 
day : finally, under the command of the timorous 
and incapable Count Horn, the campaign was 
concluded in an unwilling inactivity, even more 
humiliating than defeat : in October, he returned 
to England with the king. 

On the 7th of December, Monmouth again 
found occasion to exercise his energies in the 
House of Lords. An effort was made by the 
opposition to have committees of each House of 
Parliament appointed, for the purpose of advising 


the king in the measures to be adopted, for 
remedying the misadventures of the last campaigns. 
All the ministry and the privy council opposed 
this motion, and, with the assistance of every 
bishop but one, mustered a majority of 48 to 
36 votes. Eighteen of the lords, among whom 
was Monmouth, entered a protest against their 
defeat, of a nature by no means flattering to the 

For more than two years after this occurrence, 
Monmouth took no prominent part in public 
affairs. He passed his time principally at Par- 
son's Green, in the neighbourhood of London, 
living the usual life of men of his rank and age ; 
better in some respects, and worse in others. 
He delighted in literature. He still sought the 
society of men of letters. He indulged a strong 
taste for rural pursuits, which was one among 
his many and incongruous characteristics. His 
gardens were the finest in the vicinity; they 
were more than twenty acres in extent, and the 
rarest fruits and flowers were cultivated in 

VOL. I. F 


abundance. Among their ornaments was a mag- 
nificent tulip tree, seventy- six feet in height. 

But, although delighting in these humanising 
enjoyments, on the other hand he disregarded all 
considerations of virtue and morality, except in- 
asmuch as they coincided with his own peculiar 
notions of honour ; and his airy and graceful wit 
ever sparkled in the cold light of infidelity. It 
has been already mentioned, that all records of 
his private (it cannot be called domestic) life 
were destroyed by those who were interested in 
his good name ; but enough evidence remains to 
indicate its nature, in the occasional reference 
made to him by contemporary writers. He was 
not contented with simply being bad in a bad 
age, but he also indulged the strange and un- 
worthy vanity of being conspicuously worse than 
those around him. 

A spurious passion for notoriety rather than 
a love of fame, was a miserable and mischievous 
weakness in his, in some respects, almost great 
character. Without a faith, without one lofty 
aim or steady purpose, his brilliant ability, 


his daring courage, his energy, eloquence, and 
wit, his undoubted honesty and disinterestedness, 
have failed to gain him an honoured name in 
history. His achievements and gifts are, indeed, 
regai'ded with wonder, but hardly with admira- 
tion, and certainly not with respect. In times 
of general corruption he stands unaccused of 
venality, although his means were far from pro- 
portionate to his reckless and undistinguishing 
generosity. He was also the uncompromising 
enemy of corruption in others. When in the 
year 1695, the enormous bribery of the East 
India Company, and the venality of many mem- 
bers of the legislature, were at length forced 
upon public notice, he was one of the most 
vigorous advocates for inquiry and retribution, 
and was named as a member of the Committee of 
the House of Lords, which was appointed to 
examine into the accounts of Sir Thomas Cooke, 
Governor of the East India Company and a 
member of the House of Commons, the alleged 
agent of these shameful transactions. This 
inquiry produced strong suspicions, if not evi- 

F 2 


dence, against the Duke of Leeds, the lord pre- 
sident of the Council himself, amongst others ; an 
impeachment was moved against him, but the 
case having been delayed by the disappearance of 
a most important witness, in the meantime Par- 
liament was prorogued, and the matter fell to the 

During all this period the coolness of Monmouth 
towards the king was growing into positive dislike. 
Reasons both of a public and private nature tended 
to increase this estrangement. The Tories had 
been admitted to Royal favour. A marked pre- 
ference had been shown on all occasions to Dutch 
men and to Dutch interests. The concessions of 
the Crown to Parliament had borne the stamp 
more of indifference than of goodwill. The leaders 
of the Revolution were now held of little account. 
Marlborough had been stripped of all his appoint- 
ments, and had even tasted the grim hospitality of 
the Tower. Debt was accumulating upon the 
nation, and political morality had fallen to the 
lowest ebb. Again, in Monmouth's mind, private 
pique aided the disgust excited by these public 


evils. William ever, even in their most friendly 
times, treated him as if he might one day be an 
enemy. The cold and haughty manner of the 
king angered but did not awe the gifted and 
powerful noble. He was also indignant that his 
services were not engaged by him to whose ad- 
vancement he had so ably contributed, while his 
restless spirit began to long for any change that 
might call him once more into activity. 

Sentiments of this nature, however dangerous 
in those times, were not likely to be kept secret 
by the boldest of the bold ; he expressed his opi- 
nion of the state of things in a manner that drew 
upon him the suspicions of the Court party. He 
scorned to dissimulate, being, as Bishop Burnet 
had formerly described him, "a man of much 
heat, many notions, and full of discourse. He 
was brave and generous, but had not true judg- 
ment. His thoughts were crude and indigested, 
and his secrets son known." It was not long 
before opportunity offered to his enemies to throw 
him into disgrace, and to this day it remains 
doubtful whether they were not justified in their 

r 3 


attack upon him. In the party heat of the time 
the House of Lords was highly hostile in the 
matter, and accepted against him the evidence 
of the desperate and the infamous. However, no 
sufficient proof was adduced to confirm accusa- 
tions so odious that they are almost rendered in- 
credible by the whole tenor of his previous and 
subsequent career. 

Among the numerous plotters against the life 
and throne of King William was Sir John Fen- 
wick, a noted Jacobite. In the month of June 
1696, his machinations were discovered, and he 
was seized at Romney, while endeavouring to 
escape to France, under the assumed name of 
Thomas Ward. He was first lodged in the Tower, 
and then committed to Newgate for trial. As 
soon as he was taken he wrote a letter in pencil 
to his wife, which was intercepted, and left no 
doubt of his guilt. In his examination before the 
Lords Justices this paper, to his dismay, was 
produced before him. He then offered to pur- 
chase pardon by a full disclosure of the plot, on 
condition that he should not be called upon as a 


witness. His request being denied, he threw 
himself upon the king's mercy. 

To prove his contrition he delivered to the 
Duke of Devonshire a written confession, contain- 
ing vague accounts of Jacobite plots and projects, 
and obscure allusions to certain men of note in 
England who were implicated in them. He sub- 
sequently named the Duke of Shrewsbury, Lord 
Marlborough, and others of less account. Fen- 
wick's information was not held sufficiently dis- 
tinct or trustworthy to save him, and he was 
ordered for trial; but, from several causes, the 
prosecution was deferred. In the meantime Lady 
Fen wick contrived to get a witness named Good- 
man out of the way, leaving one only evidence 
against her husband, a Captain Porter. She en- 
deavoured also to induce him to absent himself, 
but he disclosed the attempt to Government. 
She was, however, so far successful as to prevent 
a regular process in the Courts of Justice from 
the want of the evidence required by law. 

Where the guilt was so obvious and of such 
magnitude, the offender could hardly be suffered 

r 4 


to escape even through the wide meshes of legal 
form. A bill of attainder was moved against Fen- 
wick in the House of Commons, which proved the 
ground of a great party struggle. Many regarded 
the proceeding as a dangerous precedent, tending 
to override all law and justice; the whole in- 
fluence of the Whig party could only carry it by 
a majority of twenty-three votes. The following 
week the bill was transmitted to the House of 
Lords; when in the course of the matter the papers 
criminating the Earl of Marlborough were read, 
he rose, and, half contemptuously, denied their 
truth; he had been aware of this impending 
accusation for some time, and attributed its origin 
to Lord Monmouth, whom he then called " the 
worst of men." The House accepted his denial, 
and stigmatised Fenwick's charges as calumnious. 
A tedious investigation and several stormy debates 
followed : Lord Monmouth spoke for two hours 
with peculiar vehemence, in favour of the bill, 
and it was carried at length by a majority of only 
seven, no less than forty-one peers protesting 
against it. 


In the course of this discussion a new disclo- 
sure awakened, among those who gave it credit, 
disgust, astonishment, and horror. One of the 
most distinguished of the British Peers, one 
whose honour and chivalry had never before 
been questioned, was accused of a crime so dark 
and base, that no previous merit or subse- 
quent success could efface its stigma. Charles, 
Earl of Monmouthj was accused of mean and 
vindictive subornation. The wife of Sir John 
Fenwick delivered to the House of Lords a paper 
of instructions, which she alleged had been sent 
to her husband by the Earl of Monmouth, 
through his cousin, the divorced Duchess of 
Norfolk. These instructions contained explicit 
directions to the accused how to conduct his 
defence, so as to implicate those against whom he 
had advanced charges. These charges were of the 
gravest character : he had asserted that the exiled 
king had assured him that the Duke of Shrews- 
bury, Lords Marlborough, Godolphin, and other 
men of note, were " reconciled " to him, and were 
now acting in his interests. Fenwick's sole 


object in these accusations had been to gain time. 
He prayed to be examined before the Lords 
Justices, to whom, when questioned on oath, he 
told some further particulars. In the meanwhile, 
his wife had, as before mentioned, managed to 
get the most important witness out of the way. 
When, however, he found that his hope of escape 
was cut off by the bill of attainder, he refused to 
involve himself further in these accusations, and 
turned with dangerous venom upon Monmouth, 
who had become one of the most active of his 

The real merits of this charge against Mon- 
mouth must always remain in doubt. The chief 
details which exist on the subject have been handed 
down by a hostile historian ; and in a copy of 
Bishop Burnet's " History of my own Times," 
in the possession of the Peterborough family, 
there are to be seen many notes of indignant 
contradiction in the handwriting of the great 
Earl himself. That his guilt obtained general 
credence at the time, there can be no doubt. A 
motion was made and carried in the House of 


Lords by Lady Fenwick's nephew, the Earl of 
Carlisle, to inquire into " any advice that might 
have been sent to Sir John Fenwick in relation 
to his discoveries." The Duchess of Norfolk was 
examined : she stated that Lord Monmouth had 
dictated to her all these schemes, and that she 
had handed them on to Fenwick. She added, that 
she had taken the precaution of placing a confi- 
dante to overhear and witness these proceedings, 
and accordingly produced a person who corrobo- 
rated her statements. The Duchess also said that 
she had a letter in Monmouth's handwriting, con- 
taining a summary of all the papers which she 
asserted had been dictated by him : she did not, 
however, produce it. 

In the meanwhile a book had been published 
in the name of a person called Smith, which also 
tended to involve the Duke of Shrewsbury, the 
Earls of Marlborough, Orford, and others in the 
plot to assassinate the king ; of this book Mon- 
mouth, assisted by Doctor Davenant, was accused 
of being the real author. Smith had been for 
some time in treaty with the Duke of Shrewsbury, 


pretending that, under a promise of safety, he 
could reveal all the motions and designs of the 
Jacobites. He put forward many dark and am- 
biguous letters containing hints and scraps of 
stories, but no real discoveries. He placed a far 
higher value on his information than it deserved, 
and was perpetually pressing for more money, to 
enable him to pursue his inquiries. He was at 
length dismissed as useless, but with impunity, 
although enough had transpired to implicate him 
strongly as one of the would-be assassins. Smith, 
irritated at being thus slighted, went to Lord 
Monmouth, who was unfavourably disposed to 
the Duke, and complained of his important infor- 
mation having been wilfully neglected, to the great 
danger of the king's life, and of the state. He 
pretended that an accidental absence of the Duke 
from London two days before the intended as- 
sassination, was for the purpose of being out of the 
way during the murder. Monmouth entered 
into Smith's case with an earnestness that gives 
rise to the suspicion of hatred against Shrewsbury 
being as much a motive as zeal for the crown. 


The letters were sealed up and kept in the hands 
of a Secretary of State during a temporary absence 
of the king. The matter then rested till Fenwick 
began to make discoveries, when he also accused 
the Duke of Shrewsbury : then it was that Mon- 
mouth was charged with the endeavour of inciting 
Fenwick to persevere in his accusations. The 
House of Commons voted this to be " a scanda- 
lous design to make a difference between the king 
and his best friends," and ordered the papers to 
be burned. 

Upon the evidence of all these matters, Mon- 
mouth was held guilty ; by a vote of the Peers 
he was deprived of all his employments, and sent 
to the Tower, where he was left till the end of 
the session. The king, however, evidently did 
not concur in this condemnation ; he sent Bishop 
Burnet with a kind message to soften the censure, 
if not the punishment ; this duty of conciliation 
the prelate willingly performed, as " he did not 
know what new scheme of confusion might have 
been opened by him [Lord Monmouth] in his 
own excuse." The Lords continued bitter against 


him, and would have proceeded to the greatest 
lengths had it not been for the bishop's interces- 
sion, but the Court was resolved not to lose alto- 
gether the earl's valuable services and tried 
ability, and even made up secretly to him the 
losses which he had sustained. 

The accusations thus brought against Mon- 
mouth were for doings not only cruel, mean, 
and unjust, but also incomprehensible ; for, at the 
time when the subornation was alleged to have 
been attempted, Fenwick had already made an 
attempt to prove his charges against the Duke 
of Shrewsbury, and they had been voted scan- 
dalous by the Commons. The most probable 
solution of this dark affair is, that Monmouth 
was really persuaded by Smith of the truth of 
his accusations, and that he therefore endeavoured 
to shape Sir John Fenwick's charges into a cor- 
roboration of them. The latter made a merit of 
refusing to hearken to Monmouth's suggestions, 
and subsequently produced an effect by publish- 
ing and perhaps exaggerating them. On the 
other hand, there is little doubt that the haughty 


noble was incensed at the failure of his attempt, 
and in consequence pressed on the attainder 
against Fenwick with more of private than public 
feeling : revenge for this hostility prompted the 
revelations of the accused. 

It is not here meant in the slightest de- 
gree to excuse, or even to palliate, Monmouth'a 
acknowledged share in the transaction, but 
simply to account for it. Too many of his 
actions and principles must be recorded, of which 
the defence would be impossible, even to the 
most partial and ingenious biographer. 

The result of the foregoing transactions was, that 
Sir John Fenwick was executed by the authority 
of the bill of attainder. When on the scaffold he 
presented a paper, on which was inscribed a repeti- 
tion of all his former accusations, and a declaration 
that they were founded upon sundry letters and 
messages which had r been transmitted to France. 
He also stated that King William had been 
acquainted with all these facts prior to his in- 
formation about them. One of the most remark- 
able characteristics of William of Orange was 


the calm indifference with which he looked down 
upon the known treason of some among his new 
subjects. It is now well established that he was 
aware of an extensive correspondence having 
been carried on with the Stuarts, during the 
first years of his reign, by many of those in his 
employment and apparent confidence, but the 
real cause of his magnanimous forbearance to- 
wards them remains in doubt. Not only did he 
neglect to use the knowledge of this defection, 
for purposes of revenge and safety, but he fre- 
quently employed the guilty in places of trust 
and importance, and found no reason to repent 
of his confidence. His head was too wise to 
expect that a devoted and affectionate loyalty 
could spring up at once around the newly formed 
foundations of his throne, and his heart was too 
cold to regret its absence. 

On the 19th of June, 1697, Henry, second 
Earl of Peterborough, died without male issue, 
when the title and a portion of the estates 
devolved upon his nephew, Charles, Earl of 
Monmouth. But by far the largest part of the 


property went by the will of the deceased to his 
first cousin, only child and heiress of his uncle. 
She was at that time Duchess of Norfolk, but 
was subsequently divorced, and married Sir John 
Germaine. A long lawsuit followed ; Peter- 
borough endeavoured to gain possession of the 
lands which had for 300 years been held by the 
head of his noble house; especially the family 
residence Drayton, the alienation of which to the 
female line was a source of bitter annoyance. 
He failed, however, in the attempt, after having 
incurred considerable expense. 

The inheritance, never of any great extent, 
had been much injured by the extravagance of 
the late possessor ; Evelyn, who was concerned 
in the Earl's affairs, in his " Diary " repeatedly 
alludes to the embarrassments of the property. 
Those difficulties were not combated by any dis- 
play of prudence in the heir ; his liberality and his 
recklessness kept him perpetually poor, although 
he was not given to any particular ostentation 
or expense in his establishment. This accession 
of title and estate made no apparent alteration in 

VOL. I. G 


his position or prospects. For four subsequent 
years he passed his time in graceful indolence, 
in a limited but chosen society, gathering to 
his acquaintance the brightest spirits of the age. 
He cultivated elegant literature, and enriched 
his mind with many varied acquirements. Nor 
did he omit to extend his views and increase his 
information by the essential advantages of foreign 
travel. In these pursuits, and, it must be added, 
in others widely different, he withdrew for the 
time almost wholly from the turmoil of public 
life. It is true, indeed, that in letters to his 
friends he occasionally indulged in sarcastic re- 
marks upon passing events. Writing to Mr. 
Locke, in September 1797, he sneers at "the 
generous knight-errantry of our admirals, who 
scorn to beat their enemies with odds of 9 to 5, 
being shameful advantage." And, in the follow- 
ing year, he left his retirement for a moment, to 
oppose again the East India Company's Bill ; in 
this he closed a vigorous but unsuccessful struggle 
by a protest against the measure. 

About this time he paid a memorable visit to 


Fenelon, at the archiepiscopal palace at Cam- 
bray: even he could not but feel the charm of 
his host's benevolence and sweetness of temper, 
nor fail to admit the influence of that pure and 
powerful intellect. Oftentimes their conversa- 
tion turned to that solemn subject upon which 
the brilliant sceptic loved to argue. His dex- 
terous but shallow sophistry failed him under the 
strong hand of the Christian priest. He even 
acknowledged upon one occasion, to the Chevalier 
Ramsay, the extent to which he had been moved 
by the precept and example of Fenelon. " On 
my word," said he, " I must quit this place as 
soon as possible, for if I stay here another week 
I shall be a Christian in spite of myself." 

In 1701 Peterborough reappears in political 
life. The impeachment of Lord Somers and 
others of the late Ministry, by the Commons, 
caused at this time a deep excitement in both 
Houses of Parliament. The Commons had sent 
up the bill of impeachment to the Lords, and 
subsequently voted an address to the Crown to 
remove the accused from the royal councils for 

G 2 


ever, on account of their having advised the Par- 
tition Treaty. The Lords resented this address 
as unusual and unjust, as being a condemnation 
before trial, and desired at once to proceed to an 
investigation. The Commons demanded delay, 
and moved that a committee of both Houses 
should be formed to arrange the preliminaries of 
trial. The Lords objected to this proposition as 
an interference with their right of trying members 
of their own body, and passed a vote to proceed 
at once to the trial of Lord Somers. No less 
than thirty-two peers, however, protested against 
this step, in language so strong that the protest 
was ordered to be expunged from the records of 
the House. Nevertheless, the trial was carried 
on, and a considerable majority of the Lords 
acquitted Lord Somers, as had been foreseen by 
the Commons, in what they called " a pretended 
trial, which could only tend to protect him from 
justice under colour of an acquittal." Peter- 
borough took an active part in favour of the view 
taken by the House of Commons, and was one 
of the protestors among the peers ; his eldest son, 


the Lord Mordaunt, then just of age, and lately 
returned for Chippenham, was one of the com- 
mittee of the Lower House for conducting the im- 
peachment. The Earl's direst hostility had been 
aroused against the ministers who had sanctioned 
the Partition Treaty, and thus appeared to favour 
the hated designs of France. 

Shortly after this affair Parliament was dis- 
solved, and after a great deal of excitement in 
the country, a new House of Commons was re- 
turned somewhat more favourable to the King, 
and more than ever hostile to France. The Tory 
party, however, retained sufficient strength to 
elect their speaker, and to carry in their own 
favour the principal contested election petitions, 
matters in these days confessedly dependent on 
the strength of parties. One of the first acts of 
this majority was an attack upon Lord Peter- 
borough in the month of February, 1702, for an 
alleged interference in the election of Colonel Park 
for the borough of Malmesbury. A petition had 
been lodged by some of the burgesses against the 
return, and in the course of the inquiry it was 

G 3 


asserted that Lord Peterborough had actively 
interfered. The Commons took up and resented 
this as an unconstitutional intrusion upon their 
rights. The accused peer claimed a hearing in 
his own defence, and was heard with all the usual 
ceremonies. The consequent proceedings of the 
House were more indicative of the strength of 
parties than of the weight of the evidence against 
Lord Peterborough. His friends moved to ad- 
journ the House ; and being beaten on that point 
moved to adjourn the debate, in which they were 
also overruled. Notwithstanding these delays, 
the House came to a resolution that " the Earl 
of Peterborough had been guilty of many indirect 
practices in endeavouring to secure the return 
of Colonel Park." On every one of these points 
the House divided, and the variance of the num- 
bers in each division serves to show the agitations 
of the day. In the first, 156 voted against 76 ; 
in the second, 158 voted against 144; in the 
third, 141 to 56. By that time, however, it was 
very late, and many members had gone away. 
In the meanwhile, Lord Peterborough had 


managed not only to be reconciled to Marl- 
borough, but to be admitted to his friendship, 
through the means of a correspondence which he 
had established with Lady Marlborough. That 
gifted man was now once again placed in a 
situation where his extraordinary powers could 
be called forth for his country's glory. He had 
been entrusted with the conduct of the negotia- 
tions for the grand alliance against France at the 
Hague in the latter part of the year 1700, and 
conducted them with signal success. While he 
was thus occupied, political events had crowded 
upon each other at home : there was a new Par- 
liament, and a new ministry. Although the 
party to which Marlborough belonged was now 
no longer in power, the confidence of the King in 
him had largely increased. The politic forgiveness 
of his great servant's former offences was perhaps 
one of the wisest acts of William's life, and it was 
amply rewarded. 

Then came the closing scene of the King's 
career. His health had been long sinking 
under a violent asthma ; his infirmities were 

o 4 


rapidly increased by mental anxiety, from feuds 
at home and embarrassments abroad. He felt 
that death was at hand, and he met it with the 
same calm intrepidity which he had ever shown 
in the dangers of the council and the field. His 
end was hastened by a fall from his horse 
while hunting in the park at Hampton Court. 
But the energy of his mind for a time still bore 
up the failing vigour of life. His constitution 
struggled for several weeks against the shock, 
and the accelerated progress of decay. One last 
act still remained for him to perform for the com- 
pletion of England's deliverance; the "Act of 
Abjuration" was brought to his deathbed for his 
assent and signature. Surrounded by statesmen 
and warriors, the eye of the eagle and the spirit 
of the eagle still remained with him; but the 
royal hand was already numbed by the approach 
of death, and it was with a stamp that he placed 
his name upon the scroll which for ever shut out 
the Popish line from England's throne. In a few 
hours afterwards he was dead. He died even 
greater than he had lived, sealing and bequeathing 


as a legacy to coming ages the result of the long 
experience of his eventful journey through life, 
that after all "there is nothing good in power, 
but the power to do good." 



THE last advice of William of Orange to his 
successor was, that Marlborough should be chosen 
as the fittest man in her dominions to lead her 
armies, direct her councils, and confirm her power. 
Events proved his profound judgment. What- 
ever may have been Marlborough's backslidings 
in the previous reign, in that of Queen Anne he 
religiously fulfilled the trust reposed in him by 
his sovereign and his country; and, more than 
any other man in Europe, he contributed to 
consolidate the great work of liberty, and to 
break the tyranny of France. With his rising 
fortunes Peterborough was now connected. Each 
of these singular men perceived in the other 
qualities of the highest order, but qualities essen- 
tially different. Marlborough was gifted with 
the capability of penetrating the characters of 
others, and of concealing his own. A calm, cold 


self-possession and discretion, that were rarely or 
never found sleeping, were exercised by him upon 
all occasions. Peterborough was, on the con- 
trary, a man of impulse ; he was incapable of 
concealing the movements of his own mind, and 
too impetuous to search or consider those of 
others. Marlborough was keenly sensitive to the 
opinions of his fellow-men ; in his treasons and in 
his victories, in his peculation and in his patriot- 
ism, he laboured to dress out each action of his 
life in seemly fashion for the public eye. His 
strange friend dared and bearded the opinion of 
others ; he laughed at principles, and yet often 
acted as the soul of honour ; he outraged all sense 
of religion and propriety in unbridled licence of 
speech, and yet led an army through a sanguinary 
war without the slightest imputation of injustice 
or cruelty from friend or foe. Marlborough 
gained and hoarded enormous wealth in the 
public service ; Peterborough half ruined himself 
in fitting out an expedition, and in paying the 
troops out of his own pocket. But the solid and 
real character of the one has left its stamp for 


good or evil upon great historic actions, while the 
deeds of the other scarcely rise above the brilliant 
but almost incredible adventures of an individual 

Peterborough's playful wit and graceful flat- 
tery had first secured the interest of Lady 
Marlborough ; the acquaintance that ensued fur- 
nished her less impressible lord with an opportu- 
nity of discovering the singular capacity of this 
new ally, and gave rise to the notion of employing 
him for the service of the state. The death of 
William had transferred the royal power to a 
Queen who had been the dearest personal friend 
of Lady Marlborough, and the firmest supporter 
of her husband. A new chance now dawned for 
Peterborough's ardent, active, and aspiring mind. 
He earnestly solicited employment : almost im- 
mediately on the accession of Anne, in 1702, he 
was nominated lord lieutenant of Northamp- 
tonshire, and shortly afterwards governor-general 
of Jamaica, and commander-in- chief of the fleet 
and army about to be sent out, in pursuance of 
measures concerted between England and Holland, 


to destroy some rich Spanish settlements in the 
West Indies. All particulars in connection with 
this appointment are obscure ; it is not now 
known why he was selected for such high military 
and naval command when as yet he had had no 
opportunity of acquiring experience or displaying 
capacity in any responsible position; but, pro- 
bably, the overpowering interest of his new 
friends obtained for him the first command of any 
kind that became vacant. This expedition was, 
however, abandoned in consequence of the ne- 
cessity of augmenting the British troops in 
Flanders, and the Dutch squadron which was to 
have co-operated was sent home. 

In a letter to Mr. Locke he announces the 
abandonment of the expedition with his usual 
sarcasm : 

"January 27. 1703. 

" Had I not, with Mr. Locke, left off wondering at 
anything long ago, I might with surprise write this 
letter, and you receive it with amazement, when I 
let you know our American expedition has fallen, as 
a mushroom rises, in a single night. I had my orders 
to be aboard about the 16th : all my equipage and 


servants gone, and on the 14th I was sent for to the 
Place of Wisdom to be asked this question, Whether 
I could effect with 3000 men that which I was to 
have attempted with more than double the number ? 
I immediately confessed myself no worker of miracles, 
and being told that the States had desired the Dutch 
squadron and land forces might be employed upon 
other services, since the season was so far spent, and 
the winds contrary, I likewise desired they might 
excuse my going if the season was passed. 

" I am sure this does not surprise you that I refused 
to go to the other world loaded with empty titles and 
deprived of force." 

In January of the following year, 1703, he 
took a leading part in the long contest carried on 
between the Upper and Lower Houses of Par- 
liament, on the subject of the " Bill for preventing 
occasional conformity." In consequence of his 
prominence in the matter he was selected as one 
of the "managers for the Lords at the free 
conference with the Commons." In November 
the same bill was again brought in by the High 
Church party, and was again discussed with 
great ability and zeal by the ablest men 


of both sides. Peterborough spoke strongly 
against it as an insidious means of advancing 
Popery. His gifted but dissipated friend Lord 
Mohun followed in the same strain, saying, " If 
your Lordships pass this bill, you had as good 
tack the pretended Prince of Wales to it." 
Finally, the bill was brought in again and thrown 
out on the 15th of December. The Archbishop 
of York declared that he was " for so much of 
it as concerned the Church ; " whereupon Peter- 
borough replied, " I am glad to hear that learned 
prelate make a distinction between the ecclesi- 
astical and political part of the bill, and I hope 
that all the Lords who are satisfied in their 
consciences, as his Grace seems to be, that this 
bill was framed for a temporal as well as a 
spiritual end, will vote against it." This able 
answer told forcibly upon those numerous peers 
who were jealous of any increase to the power 
of the Church, and the majority against the 
measure was decisive. However, Peterborough 
told his friend Swift that, u If I had the least 
suspicion the rejecting this bill would hurt the 


Church, or do kindness to the Dissenters, I would 
lose my right hand rather than speak against it." 

Meanwhile events were rapidly ripening for 
the great struggle of the " War of the Succession." 
The league against France, which William had 
fostered with his latest energies, had now gained 
a vitality that even his loss could not extinguish. 
The hatred of England raged against Lewis XIV. 
on account of his having acknowledged the Pre- 
tender to the British Crown, and the new Queen 
concurred in the feelings of the people. Marl- 
borough and his Countess were now omnipotent 
at Court, and they were deeply pledged to the 
policy of war. It soon, therefore, became evi- 
dent that the nation must gird itself up for one 
of the greatest military efforts that, before or 
since, it has ever attempted. 

Two battle-fields lay open to the arms of 
England, the Low Countries and Spain. Upon 
the former, Marlborough gained his great and 
abiding glory, while upon the latter Peterborough 
played a part that, while it dazzled cotemporaries, 
and almost overtaxes the credulity of posterity, 


yet left no more permanent impression on the 
romantic land of his achievements than the light 
and shadow of an April day. No broad com- 
prehensive action gave impress to the military or 
political events of succeeding years ; his greatest 
deeds were sudden and eccentric, solitary, un- 
supported, and almost inefficacious. Each of 
these remarkable men was however, in most 
respects, well qualified for the especial services 
that fell to their lot. Marlborough's commanding 
ability found full play in the great combinations of 
states and armies ; while Peterborough's brilliant 
but unsteady genius revelled in the daring ad- 
ventures and hazardous situations of a partisan 

But we must return, for a time, to trace up 
the progress of events. All Europe was convulsed 
by the disputed succession to the Crown of Spain. 
From the shores of the Baltic to the Pillars of 
Hercules the nations were ranged in two great 
confederacies, for and against the overshadowing 
strength of France. The power and splendour 
of the Bourbons now culminated in Lewis XIV., 

VOL. I. H 


and the rich but dangerous prize of the Spanish 
monarchy lay at his feet. On his marriage to 
Maria Theresa, the sister of Charles II. of Spain, 
she had solemnly renounced her claims to the 
succession, which afterwards became her right. 
Notwithstanding the renunciation, this claim was 
soon revived and continually kept up. Lewis, at 
all times utterly regardless of his own engage- 
ments where his interests were concerned, at- 
tached little importance to those of his Queen. 
Charles, his brother-in-law, although twice mar- 
ried, had no issue, and by the laws of succession 
then existing in Spain the descendants of his 
sisters became heirs to the throne. The young 
Prince of Bavaria was the first of these, but 
death soon removed him from the list of claimants. 
Two others now shared the field between them, 
Philip, Duke of Anjou, younger grandson of 
Lewis, and the Archduke Charles, second son 
of Leopold, Emperor of Austria. 

The King of Spain's feeble constitution was 
yielding fast to disease and anxiety ; for a long 
time he hesitated to name a successor to the 


magnificent empire, the throne of which he 
knew he must soon vacate. He, however, de- 
termined to secure, as far as lay in his power, the 
integrity and independence of his dominions. 
The Courts of Europe looked on with deep 
interest at the varying chances of the game ; all 
were more or less concerned in its result. Some 
dreaded equally the overbalancing power which 
the success of either party would create, others 
cherished a malignant hope that the inheritance 
of Charles should go to wreck, that they might be 
enriched by the waifs which must float to shore. 
Lewis encouraged the expectations of these last, 
the better to conceal his own views of gigantic 
aggrandisement, and that he might, in case of the 
failure of his grandson, at least secure his share of 
the dominions of Spain should they be dismem- 
bered. He, therefore, had proposed and accom- 
plished a " Treaty of Partition " with the Dutch 
States and William III. of England, by which 
the Archduke Charles was to be acknowledged as 
the successor to the Crowns of Spain, the Indies, 
and the Netherlands; while the Dauphin, as 

H 2 


eldest son of Maria Theresa, should receive the 
kingdoms of Naples and Sicily, with the Spanish 
province of Guipuscoa and the Duchy of Milan, 
in compensation for his abandonment of other 

When the conditions of this treaty became 
known, they inspired general indignation and 
alarm, especially among the inhabitants of those 
countries which had been thus arbitrarily allotted. 
Lewis managed to turn the storm of anger from 
himself to the other powers which had co-operated 
with him. Even the weak, and now dying 
Charles, was roused to some sense of the insult to 
his dignity, and to the danger that threatened his 
dominions : he suddenly broke off all diplomatic 
relations with England and Holland, and dis- 
missed their ministers from his Court. He then 
turned, even more anxiously than before, to seek 
a fitting successor for the unbroken inheritance. 
Jealousy of the House of Bourbon inclined him 
strongly towards the Austrian claimant, but the 
Emperor Leopold failed to improve this favour- 
able impression : he disgusted the Spaniards by an 


unconcealed desire to share himself in the spoils of 
their dismembered empire, and he was injudi- 
cious enough to entrust the management of his 
diplomacy at Madrid to Count Harrach, a per- 
son whose manners were eminently unpleasing. 
Lewis, on the contrary, was represented by the 
Duke of Harcourt, a man of great judgment 
and unbounded popularity. 

But by far the most powerful advocate for the 
Bourbon cause was Cardinal Portocarrero, Arch- 
bishop of Toledo. His unscrupulous genius was 
fertile in expedients to influence the distracted 
mind of the dying king. He argued that the 
grandson of Maria Theresa could not be bound by 
her renunciation, and also that it had only been 
made with a view to keep separate the French 
and Spanish monarchies, a condition that the 
succession of a younger son of France would 
as well fulfil. He called all the terrors and 
promises of religion to his aid, and represented it 
as a matter of conscience, and vital to Charles's sal- 
vation, to decide in favour of him whom he pointed 
out as the rightful heir. The Cardinal at length 
u 3 


prevailed: Charles, a month before his death, 
dictated and signed the testament that declared 
Philip, Duke of Anjou, grandson of his brother- 
in-law Lewis XIV., sole heir of the Spanish 
empire. " I am now already nothing," said he, 
when his will was completed ; its contents were, 
however, kept secret while he survived. 

After a slight pretence of refusing to violate 
the Partition Treaty, Lewis accepted the bequest 
in favour of his grandson. The heir was then 
only seventeen years of age, a weak, pliant, and 
amiable youth, free from prominent vices, and 
unadorned by prominent virtues. The Spanish 
people received him with unhesitating obedience 
to the deceased king's will, and rejoiced at the 
prospect of a rule that would at least have the 
merit of being different from that under which 
they had so long withered. They also were led 
by the agents of Lewis to believe, that their 
empire was secured from partition by the acces- 
sion of Philip to the throne. The new king was, 
therefore, proclaimed in peace, and almost with 
enthusiasm, in the principal cities of Spain, and of 
her dependencies. 


But abroad it was widely different. England, 
Holland, and the Empire, were indignant at 
broken treaties and shameless falsehoods. The 
two former, however, being at the time unpre- 
pared for war, professed to entertain the pre- 
ferred explanations of Lewis, although prompted 
to hostility by even stronger feelings than in- 
dignation by fear of the enormous increase 
of power which had accrued to France, and 
now probably to be unsparingly used for the 
subversion of the general liberties of Europe. 
But Austria, baffled and out-manoeuvred in the 
cabinet, determined to retrieve her lost rights by 
force of arms. The Emperor's ambassador left 
Madrid, protesting against the authenticity of the 
will, and even against the power of the testator 
to make such a disposition. Large bodies of 
troops under Prince Eugene were directed upon 
Italy, with a view to secure the duchy of Milan, 
and active German agents stimulated the Neapo- 
litans to revolt. 

For a time the young king carried with him 
the hearts of the Spanish people ; his prepossess- 

B 4 


ing appearance and amiable manners alone, how- 
ever, soon proved insufficient to retain their 
affections. Cardinal Portocarrero exercised the 
real power of the state : all those who had not 
supported him were deprived of office, and his 
friends installed in their places. His over-bear- 
ing, and at the same time sarcastic, temper 
offended the haughty nation even more than his 
arbitrary conduct ; while his avarice and his 
shameless corruption, afforded ample opportunities 
for his enemies to increase his unpopularity. 
But above all he was supposed to be the tool of 
Lewis XIV., and to represent that policy which 
had for its object the dismemberment of the 
Spanish monarchy and the aggrandisement of 
France. The irritable jealousy of the people 
became excited, and they were soon led to turn 
their hopes towards the House of Austria. 

In the pursuit of these designs, Lewis was 
injudicious enough to alarm the suspicions of 
Portocarrero. The Cardinal, although probably 
cold to the national honour and interest, was 
roused to anger by the interference of French 


ngents with his own measures of government : he 
soon turned against Lewis those weapons of in- 
trigue which had been so powerful before in his 
favour. With deep dissimulation he appeared to 
increase in his devotion to France, referring 
even the smallest details of public business to 
Paris for approbation, with the double view of 
disgusting Lewis with the government of Spain, 
and of disgusting the Spanish people at the 
apparently minute interference of Lewis. 

The first proof of the alienation of the 
Spaniards from their young king, was a general 
demand from all parties for the convocation of 
the national assembly of the Cortes. This 
Philip did not venture either to grant or openly 
refuse : he therefore deferred the convocation till 
his return from a journey into Catalonia, where 
he was to meet his destined bride, Maria Louisa, 
daughter of the Duke of Savoy. On his way 
through Aragon he was well received by the 
people of that province, but among the Catalans 
he found the disposition widely different. Their 
feelings were strongly interested for the German 


succession : Prince George of Hesse Darmstadt 
had been their viceroy, until removed by Porto- 
carrero on Philip's accession : he had won their 
hearts more by his courage and honesty than by 
his abilities : on his departure from Barcelona he 
had declared to the friendly crowds that had 
assembled to bid him farewell, "I shall soon 
return and bring with me another king of Spain." 
These words had been treasured among the 
Catalans, who were as yet unreconciled to the 
sovereignty of Castile. 

But Philip had now gained an ally more 
powerful than even the King of France. His 
young bride soon became the darling of the 
Spanish people ; the beautiful child of fourteen 
years rapidly bloomed into the graceful and 
gifted woman ; her weak but amiable husband 
loved her with a devoted fondness, and leaned 
upon her more powerful intellect for support. 
She with almost unexampled excellence rose 
superior to the temptations which surrounded her: 
uncorrupted by admiration, unspoilt by dependent 
affection, she accepted power only that she might 


use it for the benefit of those over whom it was 
exercised. Throughout all the changes of the 
storm that then raged over Spain, her hold upon 
the respect and affections of the people was 
never shaken, and a foreign witness has recorded, 
that years after her death the mere mention of 
her name almost caused tears to flow. 

Europe was now overshadowed by the united 
power of France and Spain. The former, already, 
even alone, too powerful for the general liberty, 
wielded in addition the resources of that nation 
which had for so long balanced the scale against 
her. Smaller states meekly submitted to en- 
croachments which they dared not oppose. Even 
England seemed more inclined to seek the alliance 
than to dare the enmity of this colossal power: 
the feelings of her king were, however, widely 
different; hatred of France had been ever his 
ruling passion, if the term passion may be applied 
to any principle of his exalted, but cold and 
impassive, nature. His hostility had increased 
with her strength. Her late enormous aggrandise- 
ment had only supplied him with new reasons to 


accelerate the struggle which he foresaw, but 
feared not. It was true that his first attempt to 
form a confederacy against Lewis had been 
thwarted, as much by the indisposition of his 
own subjects, as by the apprehensions or foreign 
powers. He had then acknowledged the new 
King of Spain, and waited patiently till the surely 
anticipated encroachments of France should unite 
those who suffered, and those who feared, in a 
common resistance. 

Within a few months, the designs of Lewis 
became as evident as William could have wished. 
The trading interests of England and Holland 
were assailed, while the French armies gathered 
ominously on the Flemish frontier. The people 
of the aggrieved and threatened countries were 
aroused to an indignation that overcame even 
their fears, and they gradually began to consider 
war itself as a lesser evil than submission to 
spoliation. The English King exerted himself to 
the utmost to strengthen and direct this rising 
spirit, and at length succeeded in framing the 
" Grand Alliance " of England, Austria, and the 


States General, against France. The professed 
objects of this combination were to exclude 
Lewis from the Netherlands and the West 
Indies, and to prevent the union of the Crowns 
of France and Spain upon the same head. A 
new and most powerful stimulus was now given 
to the war party in England. As has been before 
stated, James, the ex-king, died, and Lewis 
immediately acknowledged his son as King of 
England In the first heat of popular anger at 
this deliberate insult, King William had wisely 
dissolved the Parliament, and thrown himself 
with full confidence upon the results of a general 
election. The returns were favourable to his 
wishes; the new House of Commons approved 
of the Grand Alliance, and voted liberal sup- 
plies. They then passed the act of abjuration 
against the Stuarts, which William had just 
lived to complete. The impulse which he had 
given to the policy of the Alliance survived 
him. The Dutch and English prepared for war ; 
the Emperor of Austria roused his indolent spirit* 
to action, and prevailed upon nearly all the 


German Princes to join him in a declaration of 
war against France. 

Queen Anne, on her accession, implicitly fol- 
lowed the will of her people, and continued her 
preparations for the approaching struggle. On 
the 5th of May, 1792, a joint declaration was 
simultaneously promulgated against Lewis, by 
England, Austria, and Holland. 



THE first expedition of the allies augured ill for 
their success. King William had during his life 
strongly recommended an attack upon Cadiz, as 
the deadliest blow against the French party in 
Spain. Its insulated position, and accessibility 
to fleets, rendered it the most convenient place 
for organising and supporting an insurrection of 
the discontented among the Spaniards, while, as 
the great depot of the American trade, its pos- 
session was of vital importance to the government 
of Madrid. These reasons were held convincing 
even after the death of him who had urged them. 
A combined fleet of thirty English and twenty 
Dutch ships of war, with a number of smaller 
vessels, amounting in all to 160 sail, was assembled 
under Sir George Rooke : 14,000 troops were 
embarked under Sir Henry Bellasis and the 


Dutch general Sparre, while the command in 
chief of the expedition was entrusted to the 
Duke of Ormond. All these appointments proved 
eminently injudicious. 

At Lisbon the fleet was joined by the Prince 
of Hesse Darmstadt, who had been there em- 
ployed in an unsuccessful attempt to induce the 
Portuguese to join in active operations. He 
had strongly recommended the expedition against 
Cadiz, and represented the disposition of the 
people in a favourable light. The result, how- 
ever, proved that he had been deceived in his 
hopes of co-operation by the Spaniards, and his 
assistance proved of little value to the allies. 

Don Francisco del Castillo, Marquis of Villa- 
darias, one of the best and bravest officers of 
Spain, commanded in the Isla de Leon. His 
resources were wretchedly incompetent to meet 
the emergency, but his energy and talent sup- 
plied all deficiencies. He inspired others with 
the loyalty and confidence which he himself felt. 
The rich merchants of Cadiz, and of the neigh- 
bouring cities, contributed liberally to the defence 


of their country, and the peasantry enrolled 
themselves by thousands as volunteers. 

After long and discordant councils, the allied 
troops were landed, on the 26th of August, in the 
Bay of Toros; the Prince of Hesse Darmstadt 
was the first who set foot on shore. " I swore 
to reach Madrid through Catalonia," cried he, as 
he touched the land, " I will now reach Catalonia 
through Madrid." 

The allied troops immediately began to plunder 
and ransack the little town of Rota in the most 
disgraceful manner, destroying everything of 
value which they could not carry away, and even 
desecrating the churches. In these vile excesses, 
officers and men seem to have been equally 
culpable; the General, Sir Henry Bellasis, was 
subsequently dismissed from the service for 
peculation. Had any favourable disposition 
existed on the part of the Spaniards, these acts 
of rapacity, and the weakness that evidently 
characterised the military conduct of the allies, 
would have destroyed it. 

Meanwhile, the troops of the expedition suffered 

VOL. I. I 


severely from the climate, and from the harass- 
ing activity of Villadarias. An attempt of the 
British ships to force the entrance of the harbour 
proved unsuccessful. There was no symptom of 
the promised insurrection in their favour. A 
council of war was held to consider the state of 
affairs, and it was therein determined to abandon 
the enterprise. The troops were accordingly re- 
embarked with some loss ; and, " with a great 
deal of plunder and of infamy," they sailed from 
Cadiz on the 30th of September. 

An opportunity, however, soon afterwards 
offered to the allies for inflicting a severe blow 
upon the enemy, and, at the same time, of very 
much benefiting themselves. The fleet of Spanish 
galleons from the New World being shut out 
from Cadiz, had run into Vigo Bay, where they 
arrived on the 22nd of September, with their 
convoy of French and Spanish war-ships, under 
the command of the Count de Chateau Renault 
and Don Manuel de Velasco. This news was 
carried to the allies, and filled them with joy. 
They immediately crowded all sail to the North, 

VIGO. 115 

in search of the splendid prize, leaving behind, 
without regret, the grim and well-defended 
battlements of the Isla de Leon. But the winds 
did not second their ardour; for weeks they 
were tantalised by a gale, that ever blew from 
the quarter which they longed to reach. Spanish 
procrastination, however, proved more enduring 
than the opposing elements ; delays arising from 
formalities kept the greater part of the rich 
cargoes still on board the vessels. 

On the 22nd of October, the allied fleet reached 
Vigo; 2000 men under the Duke of Ormond 
himself landed, overcame a brave but useless re- 
sistance, and succeeded in capturing nine of the 
galleons, and six of the ships of war : the rest 
were destroyed by order of the French and 
Spanish admirals. The conquerors gained a 
booty of nearly 4,000,000 dollars, and more than 
as much again in value was sunk or destroyed in 
the struggle. The material injury inflicted upon 
the cause of Philip by this blow was very great, 
but the moral injury to the cause of the allies was 
infinitely greater. Numbers of Spanish merchants 

1 2 


suffered severely, and the nation contemptuously 
contrasted the vigour and audacity of the invaders 
in their attack upon the treasure ships, with 
their weakness and caution before the walls of 

When the action was over, the Duke of Ormond 
proposed to carry the town of Vigo and winter 
in Spain; the admiral objected, and finally, on 
the 31st of October, the troops re-embarked, and 
the fleet sailed for England. Strange as it now 
appears, the Duke of Ormond and Sir George 
Kooke received the thanks of both Houses of 
Parliament, conveyed in terms of absurdly ex- 
aggerated panegyric, for their achievements in 
this expedition ; and the 1 2th of November was 
set apart as a solemn day of thanksgiving for the 
successes of the campaign. True it is that in those 
days the British nation was little spoilt by naval 
or military victories. The shameful misconduct 
of many officers had necessitated a resort to 
the severest punishments. In that year, 1702, 
Admiral Sir John Munden was cashiered for 
treachery or cowardice on the coast of Spain, and 


four captains of ships in the gallant Benbow's 
West Indian fleet were either dismissed or shot 
for refusing to meet the enemy, and for aban- 
doning their chief. 

In the year 1703, little or nothing was at- 
tempted by the allies on the side of Spain. It is 
true that a powerful fleet, under Sir Cloudesley 
Shovel, was despatched to Lisbon about the end 
of July, to encourage and protect the King of 
Portugal, and, if possible, to make a descent upon 
Spain, and test the feelings of the Spaniards 
towards the House of Austria. After some time 
he landed a small force at Altea, in Valencia ; but 
met there with so little encouragement that he 
re-embarked his troops, and nothing further oc- 
curred worth recording. But, at the same time, 
another work of far greater importance was pro- 
ceeding. An alliance, offensive and defensive, 
was negotiated and concluded at Lisbon on the 
16th of May, between the Emperor of Germany, 
the Queen of England, the King of Portugal, 
and the States-General. In September, the 
Archduke Charles was publicly proclaimed King 

i 3 


of Spain at Vienna, and soon after he set out 
from thence to go ' by way of Holland and 
England into Portugal. He started on this ex- 
pedition to gain a kingdom in extreme poverty ; 
he was forced to raise a small sum of money at 
the Hague for urgent necessities by pawning his 
jewels. In England, however, he was received 
with royal honours, and was entertained as a 
king by Queen Anne at Windsor. 

On his arrival at Spithead, on the 26th of 
September, 1703, the Master of the Horse, the 
Duke of Somerset, went on board his ship, and 
delivered him " a compliment," and a letter from 
Queen Anne, informing him that she " had come 
to Windsor Castle, in order that he might more 
conveniently pay her the visit he had given her 
reason to hope for." As the Duke of Somerset 
occasionally resided at Petworth, his place near 
the coast, he invited Charles to remain until the 
Prince Consort arrived to escort him to the 
presence of Queen Anne. 

Prince George of Denmark set out for Pet- 
worth from Windsor Castle on the 27th of 


December, expecting to complete his journey in 
a few hours, the distance being only forty miles. 
The roads, however, in that then wild country, 
proved almost impassable. He was no less than 
fourteen hours on the road, and six of them were 
consumed in the passage of the last quarter of the 
journey. " This was the more singular," naively 
observes a Danish gentleman, who describes the 
expedition as an eye-witness, " since the Prince 
made not any stop upon the road, excepting when 
his coach was overthrown, or stuck in the mud." 
Fortunately for the sake of a proper reception, 
the King of Spain had been also frequently upset 
and stuck in the mud on his side, and finally 
arrived at the same hour of the night as Prince 
George. The following day they rested them- 
selves after their uneasy travel, and on the 29th 
made a tolerably favourable journey to Windsor, 
having only had three upsets ; they were, how- 
ever, late enough in their arrival to be received 
by torchlight. The lordly domestics of the court 
received the King of Spain with great ceremony, 
and the high chamberlain lighted him up the 

I 4 


stairs, to the top of which Queen Anne came in 
person to welcome him. 

A long and ludicrous detail is given of the 
cumbersome ceremonies which the wearied tra- 
veller had to undergo before he got his supper, 
and afterwards, before he was permitted to retire 
to rest. The following was a day of more public 
formality. Many ladies of high rank were pre- 
sented to King Charles by the Queen, all of 
whom he kissed with royal frigidity. But his 
best efforts to create a favourable impression were 
concentrated upon the Duke and Duchess of 
Marlborough, the powerful military chief, and 
the still more powerful royal favourite. To the 
husband he presented his sword with the touching 
expression, " I have nothing worthier of your 
acceptance ; I am a poor prince, I have little more 
than my sword and mantle." To the Duchess, 
however, he found an opportunity of giving, with 
much grace and tact, a superb diamond ring. 
The next day Charles gladly escaped from his 
splendid but wearisome visit, and returned to 
Portsmouth by the way of Pet worth, the Duke 
of Somerset accompanying him. 


During this brief visit, the King of Spain 
neither saw, nor was seen, by the English people. 
The Queen, Prince George, and the great officers 
of state, could alone judge of him ; but the 
rumour went abroad that he was odd and dull ; 
and Dr. Garth, a satirical poet belonging to the 
party which made such vast efforts to win this 
prince his crown, alludes to him in the following 
sneering couplet : 

" An Austrian prince alone, 
Is fit to nod upon the Spanish throne." 

Nevertheless, Queen Anne wrote an order in her 
own hand to Sir George Rooke, commanding the 
fleet at Portsmouth, to place all available ships 
immediately at Charles' service, and to direct him 
to " pay the same obedience to the King of Spain, 
as to the time and manner of his setting sail, and 
as to the number of ships which shall be in 
readiness to attend him, as you would do to 
myself." And thus began a series of vast efforts 
by the English crown to push the cause of an 
useless ally, in an undertaking of but little real 
moment to the people; and thus continued the 
accumulation of debt which William had com- 


menced by his wars for alien interests, and which 
his successors have diligently increased. 

After this formal recognition by his powerful 
ally, Charles re-embarked for Lisbon. His 
voyage was unpropitious ; after a fortnight's toss- 
ing about in the Bay of Biscay, he was obliged to 
return to Portsmouth ; but finally, on the 25th of 
February, he reached Lisbon, where he was re- 
ceived with the highest distinction. Great were 
the expectations raised by the expedition of 
Charles to Spain, and great was the disappoint- 
ment at the result. An address which he pub- 
lished to the Spanish people met with but a cold 
reception. He invited his subjects to his assist- 
ance without success ; the cause of his opponents 
seemed rather strengthened than injured by his 
proximity to those dominions which he claimed 
as his rightful heritage. 



IN May 1704 the allies made an attempt upon 
the important city of Barcelona : Sir George 
Eooke commanded the fleet, and the Prince of 
Hesse Darmstadt accompanied the expedition. 
The Prince was impressed with the idea that 
the favourable disposition of the warlike Catalans 
towards himself would be actively manifested if 
he were to succeed in gaining possession of their 
capital. He had many friends within the walls ; 
and a well-concerted plan, by which the town 
was to be given up to him, was only discovered 
and thwarted on the eve of its execution : 2500 
men of the allied force had actually landed, but 
the garrison being then on the alert, they were 
re-embarked, and the fleet departed. The conquest 
of this important place remained to be effected in 
the following year by Lord Peterborough through 


one of the most daring enterprises of that or any 
other age. 

On the side of Portugal, the French cause 
was in the ascendant. Philip of Anjou carried 
all before him with the aid of the gallant and 
veteran Duke of Berwick. This distinguished 
Englishman was the son of James II. and of 
Arabella Churchill, sister of the great Duke of 
Marlborough ; a foreign education, and the pro- 
fession of the Roman Catholic religion, had 
estranged him from his country in early youth, 
and, afterwards, the dethronement of his father 
rendered him its irreconcilable enemy. In the 
French service he rose to the highest rank by his 
own unaided courage and ability, and won the 
confidence of Lewis XIV. He was at the same 
time ambitious, generous, cold, and severe ; he 
was more respected than loved, which he little 
regretted, as he said of himself in his memoirs, 
that he " never looked on any one as a friend or 
as an enemy but for the good of the service." 

Many towns fell into the hands of this able 
general, while the small force of English and 


Dutch under the Duke of Schomberg, but little 
assisted by the Portuguese, and mismanaged by 
their incapable chief, fell back with heavy loss. 
Finally, the surrender of Castel de Vida, with its 
partly British garrison, to the Marquis of Villa- 
darias, pointed out the necessity of a change in 
the conduct of the war, and the Duke of Schom- 
berg was superseded in the command of the 
English troops by the Earl of Galway. The 
new general was a French refugee in the British 
service, De Roubigny by name, who had risen 
to high civil and military rank in his adopted 
country ; he was thoroughly versed in the routine 
of his profession, but was little gifted with 
natural ability ; he was, however, esteemed a 
trustworthy, steady general, and in due time 
"proceeded, with all decency, decorum, and 
formal attention to the discipline of war, to lose 
the battle of Almanza, and to ruin the whole 
expedition to Spain." 

This year was made memorable by the taking 
of Gibraltar. The fleet under Sir George Rooke, 
with a small land force under the Prince of 


Hesse, appeared suddenly before that fortress on 
the 21st of July, and, after some severe fighting, 
received the capitulation of the Spanish governor 
on the 24th. This was the first real footing 
established in Spain, and proved of great im- 
portance during the rest of the war : it now 
remains as the only memorial of the vast expense 
of blood and treasure that England lavished in 
this otherwise fruitless strife. A sanguinary and 
indecisive sea-fight off the coast of Malaga 
appeared to counterbalance this success ; and Sir 
George Rooke, the admiral-in-chief, was removed 
in consequence from the command of the fleet. 

The French and Spaniards now directed all 
their efforts to retake Gibraltar, first under 
Villadarias, afterwards under the Marshal de 
Tesse, who arrived with reinforcements to the 
besiegers, and prosecuted the attack with great 
vigour and courage. The garrison, under the 
Prince of Hesse Darmstadt, were, however, 
equally determined, and succeeded in holding out 
till relieved by the English fleet, now under Sir 
George Leake. Meanwhile the concentration of 


the Spanish troops upon this siege lightened the 
pressure upon the King of Portugal, and enabled 
him to assume the offensive. Accordingly, his 
army, with the British and Dutch allies, passed 
the frontiers of Beira and the Alemtejo, and in- 
vaded Spain with some success. 

The sketch of the foregoing three tedious and 
uneventful campaigns finds a place in this 
memoir, as being, in a great degree, necessary 
for the illustration of the part which the Earl of 
Peterborough is now about to act upon the stage 
of Spain. He had throughout been an ardent 
advocate for the war ; from no particular regard 
for the cause of Austria, or for the rights of 
the Archduke Charles, but from a bitter and 
irreconcilable hatred to France, as the stronghold 
of Popery, and as the dire enemy of European 

Already three campaigns and part of a fourth 
had been carried on since the commencement of 
the war, and nothing of any real importance was 
effected in Spain, beyond the capture and defence 
of Gibraltar. The south was evidently ill-affected 


to the House of Austria; the Portuguese were 
cold and indifferent to the cause ; Schomberg 
with his stiff precision, and Lord Galway with 
his military conventionality, had alike failed in 
giving life to the operations of the allies. While 
Europe rang with the successes of our arms in the 
Low Countries, the presence of a British force 
in the Peninsula was only witnessed by apologetic 
despatches, and constant demands for reinforce- 
ments and supplies. 

In spite of this untoward state of affairs in 
Spain, the splendid victory of Blenheim had 
inflicted a blow upon the French cause that told 
forcibly upon the fortunes of Philip. For the 
first time, the power and ambition of his grand- 
father had received a decided check. France was 
now called upon to provide for the defence of her 
own frontiers, and could no longer spare the same 
resources for the Spanish quarrel. Her partisans 
in the Peninsula were therefore obliged chiefly 
to trust to themselves and to the Spanish people. 
On the other hand, the Austrian party gained 
new life and hope from the weakness of their 


opponents, and their ranks were recruited by many 
of those who in all nations ever bow to the 
ascending star. 

In the great northern provinces of Aragon and 
Catalonia especially, the cause of the Archduke 
Charles rapidly advanced in favour. The late 
union of their crowns with that of Castile had 
been as yet but little consolidated. A dangerous 
jealousy existed between them. The Castilians 
were ardent supporters of Philip, and that in 
itself was sufficient motive for the opposition of 
the north. No efforts were spared by the leaders 
on either side to attract the people to their cause : 
those in the interest of Charles strove to arouse 
the old jealousy of independence and of national 
hostility to France ; while the Bourbonists en- 
deavoured to strengthen the wavering loyalty by 
various expedients, among which is mentioned 
the issue of a medal stamped with the likeness of 
Charles, and bearing the motto "Charles the 
Third, by the grace of the Heretics, the Catholic 

The English ministry had not failed to observe 

VOL. I. K 


the favourable indications among the Spanish 
people. To test more closely their disposition, an 
intelligent agent had been despatched to the 
north-east of the Peninsula in the summer of 
1704, whose report confirmed the hopes previously 
formed. Every effort was then made to stir 
up the disaffected to action, and the aid of an 
English fleet and army was promised upon the 
Mediterranean shore. 

In accordance with this promise, an armament 
was ordered to assemble at Spithead early in the 
year 1705 : and, as we have seen, the ministry, by a 
singular piece of good fortune, named the Earl of 
Peterborough to the command of the troops, and 
to the joint command of the fleet ; in the latter 
duty was associated with him Sir Cloudesley Sho- 
vel, who had fought by his side at Tangier eight- 
and-twenty years before. Happily for the arms 
of England, since the accession of Queen Anne 
Peterborough's star had ascended rapidly. On 
the 27th of March, 1705, he was sworn of Queen 
Anne's privy council ; and his son, a very gallant 
young officer, was shortly afterwards promoted to 
the rank of brigadier-general. 


Peterborough was now in the very height of 
his favour with the all-powerful Duchess of 
Marlborough; at this time many letters from 
him to the latter figure in her Grace's correspon- 
dence, most of them couched in language of 
extravagant compliment and gratitude for the 
favour of her patronage. In March, 1705, he 
writes, on account of having been nominated to 
the command of the Spanish expedition through 
her and her husband's influence, " It will be my 
highest object to retain the good opinion you have 
honoured me with. I practise the highest self- 
denial in not intruding on your time in calling." 
Again he writes in July, " Have a care of your- 
self, madam, for the good of us all ; and may no 
transports of joy or grief ever affect the health of 
one who contributes so much to a general hap- 
piness." This very high-flown compliment was 
not, however, long effectual in securing the good- 
will of the sharp-witted Duchess; she subse- 
quently endorses it in her collection, " This 
lord made speeches against the Duke of Marl- 
borough in Parliament, where he served my Lord 

K 2 


Oxford's Abigail [Mrs. Masham], and since the 
queen's death [Queen Anne's] he comes and 
talks with me as if he had always been in our 
interest and in our opinion." 

The appointment of Lord Peterborough, com- 
paratively an untried man either in land or sea- 
serviee, to this arduous command, seems not a 
little extraordinary. True it is that he was al- 
ready well known in social and political life as a 
man of great and varied acquirements, and bril- 
liant natural ability ; neither was it forgotten that 
many years previously he had distinguished him- 
self while in subordinate capacities in both naval 
and military actions. But he had never before 
had opportunity for the display of his powers as 
a commander ; and those social and political capa- 
bilities for which he was already so conspicuous, 
were apparently rather of a nature to unfit him 
for the direction of a wild and hazardous adven- 
ture, such as that for which he was now destined. 

The military service, seldom very popular in 
England, was in those days eminently distasteful 
to the classes from which the rank and file are 


usually recruited. There was not much in the 
soldier's life to tempt any one who had other 
means of procuring a livelihood. Their comforts 
and feelings were but little consulted, their pay 
was miserably small, and their flags were then 
unadorned by the crowded records of victories 
which now inspire emulation of like glory; 
without wealth or courtly influence, promotion 
was all but hopeless ; then, far more even than 
in later years, they fought " under the cold 
shade of aristocracy." When at home, they 
were crowded into insufficient and often un- 
healthy barracks; when embarked, their tran- 
sports afforded scarcely more of convenience or 
comfort, and far less of safety, than a slave-ship. 
Discipline was capricious and irregular, while it 
was harsh and despotic ; military law a terror and 
restraint, without being a protection or security 
for their few and humble rights. In the camps 
and garrisons of England, they were looked down 
upon as the lowest order of the community ; and 
in the cantonments and battle-fields of the Con- 
tinent, their undeniable valour had scarcely yet 

K 3 


sufficed to fight its way to respect, through the 
incapacity and unworthiness of their courtier 
generals. Marlborough's splendid victories had 
hardly had time to raise the morale and confidence 
of those portions of the army not under his own 
immediate command ; while he conquered, Schom- 
berg retreated, and Lord Galway barely held his 

In consequence of the general disinclination to 
serve, many strange expedients were tried to 
recruit the ranks of the army. An open con- 
scription was not attempted, but "pressing" was 
carried on to a great extent among those who 
were too poor or friendless to defend themselves. 
Although this impressment had been held as a 
very great grievance before the Revolution, both 
Whigs and Tories now agreed in promoting an 
Act of Parliament which legalised it in a form 
most oppressive to the number classes. Justices 
of the peace were empowered to impress such 
men as they saw fit, for the land service, with 
the only restriction that their victims should not 
be entitled to vote for members of Parliament, 


It may be well imagined what an instrument of 
tyranny this power might become in the hands of a 
village despot ; any one that withstood his will was 
liable to a fate regarded with little less horror than 
that of a convicted felon. Even this odious power 
odious, although entrusted to men who in the 
main were honest and respectable was insufficient 
to supply the required recruits ; and soon after an 
Act was passed to discharge out of prison such 
insolvent debtors as should serve, or procure others 
to serve, in Her Majesty's fleets or armies. It is 
also notorious that criminals of every description 
were frequently allowed this hardly desired com- 
mutation of their sentence. 

The British troops that formed Lord Peter- 
borough's force were nearly all raw and undis- 
ciplined ; they numbered between three and four 
thousand : to these were added a brigade of Dutch- 
men, that increased the strength of the little 
army to nearly five thousand. But this force, 
small as it was, was almost destitute of the 
equipments and supplies necessary for its effi- 
ciency. The Government either could not, or 

K 4 


would not, furnish the required funds ; and, de- 
spite the earnest remonstrances of the chief, they 
departed from England with nothing but his 
energy and ability to depend upon. He spared 
nothing that his private means could procure 
to remedy these defects, and even did not hesi- 
tate to involve himself in considerable pecuniary 
embarrassments for the public service. 

On the 22nd of May the expedition sailed from 
Spithead for St. Helens, where they were joined 
the day after by Lord Peterborough, who em- 
barked with his suite on board the admiral's ship. 
On the 24th they proceeded to Lisbon, where 
they arrived on the 20th of June, and awaited 
the arrival of the Dutch fleet under Admiral 
Allemonde, which also entered the river on the 
27th. Peterborough had landed immediately on 
his arrival, and turned all his energies to obtain 
those supplies which had been denied to him at 
home. After much difficulty he succeeded in 
borrowing 100,0007. from a Jew named Curtisos 
on Treasury bills upon Lord Godolphin, with 
the somewhat desperate condition that the lender 


should be given the contract for the supply of 
provisions and other requisites to the army. 

The Earl of Galway, and the other allied 
chiefs, were now assembled at Lisbon, under the 
Archduke Charles, to concert measures for the 
general conduct of the war. Several councils 
were held as to the destination of the fleet. 
Peterborough's orders were sufficiently vague, to 
leave nearly everything to his discretion. He 
was indeed recommended to prevail upon the 
Archduke Charles to accompany him, and to 
proceed to Italy, where he was to form a junc- 
tion with Victor Amadeus, Duke of Savoy, then 
sorely pressed by the armies of France. This 
plan was at first warmly espoused by Queen 
Anne, who subsequently, however, despatched a 
messenger to the fleet to order it to the coast 
of Catalonia " to make a vigorous push in Spain," 
in consequence of information which had been 
sent to the British court of the favourable dispo- 
sition of the Catalans. This order was far from 
being pleasing to Lord Peterborough. 

In the mean time the Prince of Hesse Darm- 


stadt arrived from Gibraltar, and also strongly 
urged to the council the advantages of another 
descent on Valencia and Catalonia. He dwelt 
with force upon the inclination of the inhabitants 
to the House of Austria, and upon the powerful 
personal influence over them which he himself 
possessed. His recent success in the capture and 
subsequent defence of Gibraltar gave weight to 
his words, and had almost effaced the recollection 
of his failure before Barcelona in the preceding 

The final decision rested in a great measure 
with the Archduke Charles. He was raised to 
hope by these assurances of support on the Medi- 
terranean coast, and had even a stronger motive 
in hearkening to the counsel of the Prince of 
Hesse in his anxiety to get away from Portugal, 
where his position was "doubtful and melan- 
choly." He therefore resolved to cast in his lot 
with Lord Peterborough, despite the vehement 
remonstrances of several of his Spanish followers, 
and to test the disposition of his Valencian and 
Catalonian subjects. This decision was heartily 


approved by the English chief, although the 
royal presence in his fleet could not be otherwise 
than a restraint upon his actions, and was at- 
tended by great personal inconvenience and 
expense to him. It was not long before he had 
strong reasons for regretting the presence of his 
royal guest, from its hampering effect upon the 
cause of the allies. 

The reasons for Peterborough's ultimate con- 
currence in the determination of moving towards 
Barcelona, are best explained by the following 
extract of a despatch which he addressed to 
Sir George Eooke on the 20th of July, 1705. 
" Upon the letter of my Lord Godolphin and 
the Secretary of State, the King of Spain, his 
ministers, and my Lord Gal way and myself, have 
concluded there was no other attempt to be 
made but upon Catalonia, where all advices 
agree that six thousand men and twelve hundred 
horse are ready expecting our arrival, with a 
general good will of all the people. 

"The Portuguese have entirely refused to join 
in any design against Cadiz, and by a copy of my 


Lord Gal way's letter, writ when under sail, you 
will find he is in an utter despair of their attempt- 
ing anything this year ; so that by our instruc- 
tions it will appear that there is no other enter- 
prise left for our choice." 

Peterborough prevailed upon Lord Galway to 
give him the better part of Lord Raby's and 
General Cunningham's regiments of English dra- 
goons, not however without great difficulty, and a 
violent opposition from the Portuguese ; he also 
obtained for them a partial remount of horses 
with some of the money he had procured from 
Curtisos. The Prince of Hesse Darmstadt was 
then despatched to Gibraltar to put in readiness 
a portion of the garrison which was to accompany 
the expedition. These dispositions being made, 
the Archduke Charles embarked with Lord 
Peterborough on board the Ranelagh. On the 
28th of July they put to sea, and were joined off 
Tangier by the squadron under Sir Cloudesley 
Shovel ; in a few days they reached the Bay of 
Gibraltar. Here a most important addition was 
made to the strength of the army : one battalion 

DENIA. 141 

of the English guards, together with three other 
veteran regiments that had borne part in the 
gallant defence of the fortress, were taken on 
board the fleet; and their place in the garrison 
was occupied by two of the newly raised corps 
which had been brought from England. In this 
friendly port, Charles III. was received with royal 
honours as the lawful sovereign of Spain. Urged, 
however, by the active spirit of Lord Peter- 
borough, he made no further delay than was 
absolutely necessary to complete these arrange- 
ments; and, having taken the Prince of Hesse 
Darmstadt on board on the 5th of August, they 
again put to sea. They were for some little time 
harassed by contrary winds, and made but small 
progress. On the 7th, however, they doubled 
Cape Gatta, and on the llth came to anchor at 
the mouth of the river Guadalavia, in Altea Bay, 
on the Valencian coast. This place, of little im- 
portance in itself except as a safe anchorage, was 
however near the populous and beautiful capital 
of the province. On the other side of the road- 
stead stood the castle and village of Denia. 


The expedition was received with good will 
by the Valencians; they hated the ascendancy 
of France at Madrid, and the ancient jealousy 
of Castile was still strong among them. Here 
the partisans of Austria were more numerous 
than in any other part of Spain, except perhaps 
in Catalonia. Peterborough did not fail to 
stimulate to the utmost of his power their favour- 
able disposition : as soon as the fleet anchored, 
he caused a manifesto to be dispersed among 
the people, in which he disclaimed any design 
of aggrandisement on the part of Great Britain 
and her allies, or any intention of injuring the 
persons or property of Spaniards who were the 
lawful subjects of King Charles III. " We come," 
continued he, " to free you from the insupport- 
able yoke of a government of foreigners, and 
from the slavery to which you have been re- 
duced and sold to France, by ill-designing 

Several of the Spanish followers of Charles 
were also landed here to encourage the people; 
the principal of these was General Basset y 


Ramos, an active and gallant officer, who had 
served with distinction under the Prince of Hesse 
at Gibraltar, and who was a Yalencian by birth. 
These measures were successful; the people 
rapidly assembled from the neighbouring country, 
and, under the protection of the British guns, 
gave vent to their hitherto suppressed loyalty 
in shouts of "Long live King Charles the 
Third ! " More substantial proofs of their dis- 
position followed, in the shape of abundant 
supplies of provisions, for which, however, a 
liberal payment was judiciously made : a detach- 
ment of British infantry was landed to cover 
the operation of watering the fleet, and to pro- 
tect the inhabitants from disorderly persons. 
The insurrection spread rapidly under these 
favourable circumstances, and in a short time 
advice was brought that from 800 to 1000 of 
the inhabitants of the neighbouring towns and 
villages had assembled in the mountains, and 
seized the town of Denia for the King. A 
frigate and two bomb vessels seconded this move- 
ment by threatening the castle from the sea. 


This castle was altogether indefensible against 
such a force : it still retained much of the mag- 
nificence which it had formerly displayed when 
the residence of the Dukes of Lerma, but was 
now a place of little strength. After a few 
shots had been fired, it surrendered, and General 
Ramos, with 400 regular troops from the fleet, 
immediately took possession. Here, for the first 
time on Spanish ground, Charles III. was pro- 
claimed King of Spain and of the Indies. The 
proclamation was received with joy by the popu- 



AND now an opportunity was presented, of which 
Peterborough burned to avail himself. By a 
sudden impulse of genius he formed a plan which 
would probably at once have terminated the cam- 
paign, had he not been paralysed by restraining 
authority. His scheme was as complete and 
cautious in arrangement as it was daring and 
original in design. The vague nature of his 
instructions from England permitted ample free- 
dom of action, but the embarrassing presence 
of the King, and of his German ministers, more 
than counterbalanced this advantage. 

When Peterborough cast his eye over the map 
of Spain, he saw that Madrid lay as it were with- 
in his grasp : from Altea Bay, where his troops and 
stores might have easily been landed, it was not 
more than fifty leagues. Only one town of any 
strength, Requena, lay in the way. The rich 
country around afforded abundant provision and 

VOL. I. L 


transport, which, by the favourable disposition of 
the people, would be readily brought forward. 
In the whole of central Spain there was no force 
that could oppose him ; all the troops of Philip 
were away on the frontiers of Portugal, or occu- 
pying the disaffected cities of the north. At 
Madrid there were only a few troops of horse 
that barely sufficed for the duties of the palace 
guards. In a week, and perhaps without the 
shedding of one drop of blood, Charles might 
be proclaimed in his capital. In this brilliant 
design the dangers were fully weighed as well as 
the advantages. The overwhelming force of 
Marshal Tesse must threaten the left of the ad- 
vancing army, and the garrisons of the northern 
cities, if united, could fall with decisive supe- 
riority upon its right. But the former was fully 
occupied by Lord Galway with the allied and 
Portuguese army, and the latter by the hostile 
and turbulent Catalans. Tesse could hardly 
move without drawing his opponents after him 
into the heart of Spain, and Barcelona with its 
neighbouring strongholds, if encouraged by the 
presence of a British fleet, and relieved from the 


Bourbon garrisons, would doubtless declare im- 
mediately for Charles III. 

In the very daring of the plan lay its safety. 
The wavering opinions of the Spanish people 
would probably be secured to the Prince who 
could thus boldly win his capital. The Cas- 
tilian nobles would be overawed by the presence 
of a victorious army, and the disaffected in every 
part of Spain would be stimulated to redoubled 
activity by this first and important success. 
Even in case of failure, the position of Peter- 
borough's army would be far from desperate. 
His retreat would be easy through a friendly 
country to those parts in Valencia and Andalusia 
which he might have previously secured. Gibral- 
tar, one of the strongest places in the world, 
was also ready to receive him, and a great fleet 
was at hand to give assistance and protection 
when he approached the sea. The advantage 
of acting with that stronghold as the base of 
operations was obvious, from its being so much 
nearer England: from it the war might have 
been supported with greater facility, and the 


time and expense of transporting troops and 
supplies considerably diminished. 

This daring but judicious scheme was emi- 
nently suited to Lord Peterborough's character : 
in the rapid advance, in the councils of the con- 
quered capital, in the defence or retreat, as the 
case might be, he would have been in his ele- 
ment. The prize of success was splendid, the 
penalty of failure could not be severe. In full 
confidence of its being accepted, he submitted 
his plan to King Charles, together with a lucid 
statement of the grounds upon which he had 
formed it, but to his surprise and vexation it 
was not approved. He urged his point with an 
earnestness that verged upon the very limits of 
respect ; he endeavoured again and again to ex- 
plain the advantages which his suggestion offered 
over the expedition to Barcelona. Nevertheless, 
the King and his German advisers were immov- 
able, and they were subsequently supported by 
the decision of a council of war. Peterborough 
was obliged to submit at length to his colleagues, 
and with true magnanimity turned all his energies 


to the execution of the original plan of the expe- 
dition. In letters to his friends, however, he 
inveighed in the strongest and most sarcastic 
terms against the incapacity of those with whom 
he was associated, and complained of the embar- 
rassment that the presence of the King caused 
to his movements. Among other correspondents 
was Lord Wharton, to whom he wrote a letter, 
so amusing as to have called forth the following 
characteristic notice from Mr. Walsh, of Ab- 
berley, in Worcestershire, gentleman of the horse 
to Queen Anne. In a letter to Pope he says, 
" When we were in the north, my Lord Wharton 
showed me a letter he had received from a certain 
great general in Spain ; I told him I would by 
all means have that general recalled, for it was 
impossible that a man with so much wit, as he 
showed, could be fit to command an army, or do 
any other business." 

In accordance with this decision, such of the 
troops as had already been landed were re- 
embarked, and, after a further delay of a few 
days, from contrary winds, the fleet again weighed 

L 3 


anchor, and steered for Barcelona, where they 
arrived on the 16th of August. It was deter- 
mined that, if a successful attempt upon that 
city seemed improbable upon an examination of 
the defences, they should proceed to the assist- 
ance of the Duke of Savoy, as was originally 

The city of Barcelona is one of the most an- 
cient, populous, and important in Spain. It is 
situated in a fertile plain close to the sea; the 
defences at the time were extensive, but not 
very formidable, demanding an army of no less 
than 30,000 men for their full occupation, From 
about the centre of the sea-face, a mole projects 
into the water, within which, however, none but 
small craft can enter. Ten bastions and some 
old towers protect the town towards the north 
and east ; to the south a long rampart with an 
unfinished ditch and covered way faces the sea ; 
and to the west, at the distance of a mile and a 
half, on an imposing elevation, the castle or 
citadel of Montjuich overlooks and guards the 
walls of the city. The country around was fer- 


tile and beautiful, well cultivated, and watered 
by numerous rivers and streams, which flow from 
the neighbouring mountains. At the distance of 
about a league from the shore, the land begins 
to rise into an amphitheatre of hills, the sides of 
which were decorated with towns, villages, and 
handsome country-seats for many miles. 

As soon as the allied fleet had anchored, the 
garrison commenced a cannonade from the mole, 
and from a battery close to the sea, upon some of 
the transports which had neared the shore, but 
without any effect. The ships finding themselves 
uninjured, remained in the positions they had 
chosen as most convenient for the landing of the 
troops. The east wind, however, proved far 
more troublesome than the enemy's fire, and a 
heavy sea continually rolled in from the Mediter- 

Meanwhile the Prince of Hesse Darmstadt 
with two frigates had put into the harbour of 
Mataro, about four leagues from Barcelona, for 
the purpose of gaining intelligence. He found 
that at the neighbouring town of Yich, the 

L 4 


people had risen for King Charles in considerable 
numbers. He put himself in communication 
with their leaders, and advised them to march 
upon the coast and co-operate with the allied 
forces then about to land. He then put off to 
rejoin the fleet, and on his way chanced to fall in 
with and chase two Neapolitan galleys, which, 
however, escaped into Barcelona. The Duke and 
the beautiful Duchess of Popoli were on board, 
with Monsieur d'Abary, a French officer of dis- 
tinction, and forty other young gentlemen, par- 
tisans of the Duke of Anjou, all of whom were 
destined for employments in different parts of 
Spain, but were detained in the threatened city, 
by the viceroy and governor Don Francisco 
Velasco, to assist in its defence. 

The first glance at the state of affairs gave 
Peterborough such an unfavourable impression, 
that he at once objected to the proposed attack 
upon Barcelona. The conditions were such as to 
arm the prudence of even the most daring. The 
lowest estimate of the enemy's force made it little 
inferior to his own. The gallant and skilful 


Velasco still held as viceroy the command he 
had so ably exercised in the preceding year. 
The place was well supplied by his diligence with 
provisions and stores, while, to distress a besieg- 
ing army, orders had been given to destroy all 
the forage in the surrounding country which 
could not be conveyed within the walls. The 
Austrian sympathies of the inhabitants were 
effectually compressed by the power and vigilance 
of the governor. With the scanty numbers of 
the besieging army, a blockade was evidently 
impracticable. The chances of an assault upon 
an equal force behind well-armed defences seemed 
almost desperate. The engineers declared that 
the difficulties of a regular approach were enor- 
mous, if not insurmountable, and that the only 
vulnerable point was covered by a bog, where the 
transport of cannon or the formation of works 
would be impossible. 

The principal hope of the expedition had 
already failed ; the adherents of the Archduke 
Charles had given assurance that the whole 
country would rise for him on the appearance of 


the allied fleet, and that the town itself would 
probably open its gates to receive him. These 
promises, like all others from his Spanish friends, 
proved deceitful. But few of the peasantry 
appeared to receive him on the coast, and they 
were unarmed, unprovided, and without officers. 
They, however, stated that when the landing was 
made, and the enterprise fairly undertaken, 
thousands would join his standard who now stood 
aloof from prudence, but not from disinclination ; 
and it was also alleged that these feelings 
obtained principally among the wealthier and 
more influential inhabitants. 

The instructions given to Lord Peterborough, 
although in most respects sufficiently indefinite, 
were yet stringent on one point, which, with any 
one less bold and determined than he, would have 
proved an intolerable restraint. He was on no 
account to make the slightest alteration in the 
plans of the expedition, or indeed even to take 
any decisive step for their accomplishment, with- 
out the advice of a council of war. This con- 
dition, always most embarrassing, was under the 


existing circumstances almost insupportable. But 
little harmony existed among the chief officers. 
The English thwarted each other, hated the 
Germans, and sneered at the Dutch. The 
officers of the fleet superadded to their usual 
distaste for their army brethren a strong jealousy 
of Lord Peterborough, whose command over 
them they resented as almost an insult, and he 
only qualified his dislike of them by a general 
contempt for every one whose opinions differed 
from those which at the moment he might him- 
self chance to hold. However, his orders ad- 
mitted of no evasion, and he accordingly called a 
council of war to deliberate upon the state of 

On board Her Majesty's ship Britannia, off 
Barcelona, August 16th, 1705, in the presence of 
King Charles III., the council assembled, con- 
sisting of nine generals and a brigadier, with two 
colonels on the staff. The subject of deliberation 
was, Shall Barcelona be besieged or not? Strong 
indeed must have been the reasons, when the coun- 
cil proved unanimous against the attack. Their 


consequent resolutions were principally drawn up 
by Lord Peterborough, and show solid ground 
for their decision. They stated not only all the 
difficulties actually existing, but also those that 
the enemy might probably create in the course of 
the siege, and declared the strength of the allied 
army to be only nineteen battalions of foot and 
two cavalry regiments, of whom no more than 
7000 men in all were fit for action, and only 120 
dragoon horses had survived the voyage in 
serviceable condition. 

They conclude their written opinion as fol- 
lows : 

" That though bold and almost desperate attempts 
have sometimes been undertaken with success, yet are 
they never by choice, but the effect of despair, and to 
get out of some great difficulty ; whereas these troops 
are at this time under no necessity, which obliges 
them to desperate attempts, since other very consider- 
able services, and such as by Her Majesty's instructions 
seem to be thought at least of equal importance with 
this of Barcelona, may still be pursued : such is par- 
ticularly that of Italy, and supporting the Duke of 
Savoy. The Earl of Peterborough has likewise pro- 


posed and offered to His Majesty to march by land, 
along the sea coast, where, with the countenance and 
assistance of the fleet, many towns of consequence 
might be reduced, the whole country disposed to 
declare for and pay obedience to His Catholic 

"Either of these services we do most cheerfully 
offer to go upon, or indeed any other which may be 
proposed by His Majesty, which shall not expose both 
the honour of the Queen's and States General's arms, 
and the body of the troops which we are intrusted 
with, to utter destruction." 

The decision of the council of war was most 
adverse to the wishes and hopes of the Archduke 
Charles and the Prince of Hesse Darmstadt. 
They addressed letters of strong remonstrance to 
Lord Peterborough. They urged that to abandon 
the expedition at this juncture would be alike 
fatal to the common cause, and discreditable to 
the British arms. Meanwhile, however, the 
greater part of the troops had landed without 
opposition, but the sea broke with such force on 
the beach, that much difficulty was experienced. 
Many of the men were up to their middle in the 


surf, and hardly escaped being carried off by the 
receding waves. Now, however, the people from 
the neighbouring villages began to assemble, and 
welcomed the allies of the Catholic King with de- 
monstrations of joy. They brought boards to 
assist the soldiers out of the boats, and carried 
the officers on shore on their backs. 

The landing-place had been well chosen by 
Lord Peterborough and Sir Cloudesley Shovel. 
It was about two miles east of the city, near a 
place called Badalona, and close to the mouth of 
the little river Basoz. The transports were 
moored as close to the shore as possible, and the 
fleet of boats bore no less than 3000 men in each 
trip. 200 English grenadiers were the first who 
stepped ashore; they immediately took up a 
position on the banks of the stream to cover the 
debarkation. In little more than five hours* 
fifteen battalions were landed, without the loss of 
a man. The work of encampment was conducted 
with judgment and energy. A strong natural 
position, about a mile from the city, was selected ; 
the left rested on the sea, and the right was 


covered by several abrupt hills and defiles, 
through which the river Basoz flowed. The 
front was, however, much extended, and Peter- 
borough was obliged to avail himself of the 
assistance of the friendly Catalans, in guarding 
the advanced posts, and securing the numerous 
avenues from the city to the camp. 

On the 22nd, another council of war was held 
at the Dutch general Schratenbach's quarter in 
the camp, to consider two letters of the King, in 
which he again urged the allied generals to attack 
the city : he proposed that a battery of fifty guns 
should be immediately erected to breach the 
curtain, and that the whole strength of the army 
should be thrown upon an assault. He argued 
both with ability and resolution ; he weighed the 
several objections to the attack, and acknow- 
ledged their force, but urged that in such a case 
vigorous action was the safest, and, where " all 
is doubtful, much must be put to hazard," and 
that this was deemed least hazardous. He dwelt 
upon the ruin that must fall upon such of his 
subjects as had declared for him, if they were 


abandoned to their fate, and concluded by de- 
claring that he at least would not desert them. 
This appeal, however, failed to move any of the 
council except the chivalrous and uncertain 
Peterborough ; he alone voted for the attempt, in 
compliance with the King's desire, but in opposi- 
tion to his own judgment. Notwithstanding the 
decision of the council of war, the horse and 
dragoons were landed on the 24th, and marched 
into the camp. 

On the 25th, the 26th, and the 28th, the chiefs 
of the allied army again assembled to deliberate 
upon an earnest request of the King, that they 
should attempt the siege for the period of eighteen 
days. The first decision was adverse, two only 
siding with Lord Peterborough for the siege. His 
influence, however, gained a favourable decision 
at the next ; but in the third council, held on the 
28th, they agreed to abandon the attempt, even 
the eccentric commander-in-chief concurring. 
The cause of this sudden reversal of their recorded 
opinion was that none of the workmen, whom 
they had demanded from the leaders of the 


Catalan peasantry, had appeared, and they felt it 
to be impossible to carry on the works, and to 
erect the batteries for the siege, without such 
assistance. Nevertheless, the peasantry gave 
effectual assistance in landing the artillery, the 
tents, ammunition, and other stores ; their leaders, 
however, declared that they could not be trusted 
to work under fire. 

On the 28th, King Charles landed at four in 
the evening, amid a great concourse of people 
who received him with every demonstration of re- 
spect and joy, and with shouts of " Long live the 
King ! " which echoed to the walls of Barcelona. 
For a time he could hardly extricate himself from 
the loyal crowd, but at length, mounting a horse, 
he proceeded to the camp, where he was received 
with a royal salute. Lord Peterborough then 
led him to the quarters prepared for his reception, 
near San Martino, behind the right of the camp, 
which was carefully guarded against the possibility 
of a surprise, by a line of defence, and by advance 
posts. But the presence of this prince, whose 
safety was so carefully ensured, was an intoler- 

VOL. i. M 


able embarrassment to the British general. He, 
and his worthless mockery of a court, complained 
with puerile bitterness of the disinclination of 
the allies to undertake the siege, and murmured 
against the hard fate that had carried him among 
his faithful people, without the power of making 
one effort in their cause. On the other hand, the 
allies were incensed against those who reproached 
them for not undertaking impossibilities. Dissen- 
sions spread: General Schratenbach declared 
that he would disobey the orders of the com- 
mander-in-chief rather than vainly sacrifice his 

There is little ground for surprise in the un- 
favourable dispositions of the different parties 
towards each other. The Archduke and the 
Prince were exasperated at the uncertainty and 
dilatoriness of the allied councils, and especially 
by the last change in opinion of the English 
chief, while Lord Peterborough was enraged 
at the unreasonable propositions of the Court, 
and at the flagrant exaggeration by which the 
Prince of Hesse had raised 1500 disorderly 


peasantry into an army. As yet he had not 
learned the value of these auxiliaries ; he resented 
a demand that they should be paid as regular 
soldiers from the military chest, while they would 
submit to no discipline, and while they refused 
to labour in the trenches. He desired in good 
faith to carry out his instructions, that he should 
as far as possible defer to the opinions of Charles, 
but be also guided by the decisions of councils of 
war: under existing circumstances this was im- 
possible, both being diametrically opposite. 
" Such," says an officer present at the time, 
"are the present unhappy circumstances. Im- 
possibilities proposed; no expedient to be ac- 
cepted; a court reproaching, councils of war 
rejecting, and the Dutch general refusing the 
assistance of the troops under his command ! " 

The Prince of Darmstadt, in his vexation at 
the results of the councils of war, even went so 
far as to accuse Lord Peterborough of having 
used secret influence to thwart the enterprise, 
and thus to justify his former opposition to it; 
an open rupture between them was the con- 
st 2 


sequence. At the same time the English troops 
were full of complaints against their chief, for 
having landed and committed them to this appa- 
rently hopeless enterprise. But they earnestly 
desired now to be led against the town, that 
they might not be said to have " come like fools, 
and gone like cowards." 

The east side of the town, where the allied 
army lay, was almost safe from their attack. 
For many miles the neighbouring country was 
a dead flat, affording no shelter whatever to the 
assailants. The soft and marshy nature of the 
ground rendered regular lines of approach pecu- 
liarly difficult of construction, even had not the 
want of workmen and of sufficient numbers for- 
bidden the attempt. There, too, the defensive 
works were most formidable ; an outwork, in the 
form of a detached ravelin, and flanked by the 
more salient points of the lines, completely 
covered the ramparts from a breaching fire, and 
was too strong to be carried without great loss. 
But had these difficulties even been overcome, 
and a breach made, there would still have re- 


mained the desperate risk of a storm, in the face 
of a superior enemy. 

However, during these harassing dissensions, 
the siege was carried on, but certainly in a 
languid manner. A battery of fifty heavy guns, 
supplied by the ships, and manned by seamen, 
was placed upon a rising ground, flanked by two 
deep ravines, on the shoulders of which small 
redoubts were erected, to guard the gunners from 
the enemy's fire. On several of the adjacent 
hills, also, smaller batteries, with light field-guns, 
had been raised, which effectually checked the 
fire of the besieged. In these comparatively un- 
important operations nearly three weeks were 
consumed, and no real advance towards the 
capture of the place had been effected. Some- 
thing like a blockade had, however, been esta- 
blished. The Catalan peasants guarded every 
approach to the town, irregularly, perhaps, but 
effectually. These formidable levies, unequalled 
in guerilla warfare, were called Miquelets, from 
the name of a favourite chief in former times, 
and sometimes took the name of Soinatenes, from 

M 3 


the Somaten, or alarm-bell, by which they were 
summoned together. 

The officers of the fleet were not less discon- 
tented than their brethren on shore, at the feeble 
conduct of the siege. They never doubted that 
the defences might be carried by a sudden attack, 
after the fashion of boarding ; and they complained 
bitterly at the season of action being thus allowed 
to exhaust itself in efforts which they did not 
believe were even in earnest; and it is certain, 
that from the first Peterborough saw the hope- 
lessness of a regular attack, and at once directed 
his mind to discover some means of carrying the 
town by surprise. Thus, during the three in- 
active weeks that ensued after the landing, his 
apparent inactivity was deceitful ; he carefully 
collected all information brought to him by 
spies and deserters; he searched old maps and 
records minutely, and also, by constant personal 
observations, endeavoured to render himself 
thoroughly acquainted with the city, and the 
points whence it could be assailed. Meanwhile 
the siege proceeded most languidly, or rather 
hardly proceeded at all. 



IN the course of these anxious and careful obser- 
vations a scheme suggested itself to Lord Peter- 
borough's mind of a most daring and singular 
nature. Its very boldness was its safety. Friends 
and foes were alike astounded even more at the 
attempt than at its complete success. The eccen- 
tric genius that planned was well supported by 
the judgment and courage that executed. Success 
could alone justify such an enterprise, and yet the 
failure of any one link in the chain of calculated 
circumstances would have rendered success im- 

Among the various reports brought by deserters 
to the allied camp was that of the state of the fort 
and garrison of Montjuich. The fort or citadel 
was strong both by natural position and by arti- 
ficial defences. It has been already stated that 

x 4 


this formidable stronghold covered the weakest 
part of the city defences, that towards the south- 
west. In itself it far exceeded in strength any 
other part of the lines. The several fronts were 
Braced in the most skilful manner of which the 
irregular nature of the ground would permit. 
The ditches were deep and the walls firm, the 
outposts were skilfully planned, the batteries well 
armed, and the inner defences formidable in them- 
selves. In a word, the citadel was by far the 
strongest point in the position of the besieged. 
On the other hand, the only weakness was, that 
around on every side were numerous ravines and 
hollows which might afford shelter to an assail- 
ant. The fort stands on a commanding height, 
the loftiest of the chain of hills that projects from 
the Monserrat mountains, and falls in undulating 
slopes towards the sea. Montjuich was thus 
abundantly capable of defence even against a 
regular siege. The reduction of this formidable 
fort was always regarded as consequent on the 
possession of the city, but the idea of assailing it 
in the first instance appears never before to have 


been entertained, and was left for the strange and 
gifted Peterborough. 

Trusting to the extraordinary strength of their 
position, the garrison of Montjuich neglected 
proper precautions. Peterborough managed to 
elicit this important information without exciting 
suspicion as to the object of his inquiry. His 
only hope of success lay in secrecy and in the 
extreme improbability that his designs could be 
anticipated by the enemy. It was, however, 
necessary that he should render himself thoroughly 
acquainted with the roads leading to the fort, and 
with the neighbouring localities. He made this 
necessary examination accompanied only by a 
single aide-de-camp, and, proceeding up the 
ravines towards the fort, succeeded in obtaining a 
satisfactory view of the fortifications without being 
discovered. This personal observation confirmed 
the reports which he had received of the supine- 
ness and negligence of the garrison. He was 
now determined to risk the attack, but to none 
of his most intimate friends did he give the slight- 
est hint of his intentions, not even to Brigadier' 


General Stanhope, a gallant and accomplished 
soldier, with whom he was at that time on terms 
of the closest friendship. 

Still further to disguise his views, Lord Peter- 
borough called councils of war both in the camp 
and fleet, wherein it was resolved, with his full 
consent, that the siege of Barcelona was hopeless, 
and that the army should be immediately re-em- 
barked and conveyed to Italy. Accordingly, the 
heavy artillery was returned on board the ships, 
the warlike stores collected, and the troops warned 
for embarkation. Then the Archduke Charles 
and his courtiers broke out into louder complaints 
than ever ; they publicly called in question Lord 
Peterborough's capacity and even his honesty. 
The officers of the fleet also murmured more loudly 
than ever against their brethren ashore ; they were 
unanimous in desiring an attack upon the city at 
all hazards, especially as the season of action was 
so far spent that they deemed it unadvisable to 
undertake any other enterprise that year. 

Lord Peterborough's patience and self-control 
during this most trying period is perhaps the most 


singular part of his singular life : fiery, impulsive, 
and indiscreet on common occasions, he then bore 
the bitterest taunts and the keenest wounds to 
his vanity with apparent calmness and insensi- 
bility. So completely successful was he, that the 
very night on which his plans were ripe for execu- 
tion was appointed by the defenders of Barcelona 
for a public rejoicing to celebrate the raising of the 
siege. On the other hand, the fact of the arrange- 
ments for embarkation having been carried on up 
to the last moment gave opportunity to his de- 
tractors, and they were many and powerful, to 
deprive him of the merit of the great idea, which 
they declared he had only adopted unwillingly 
from the Prince of Hesse's suggestion. 

The sun set, the 13th of September, on scenes 
of activity in the city of Barcelona and in the 
beleaguering camp. In the former, the garrison 
and the inhabitants, who were, or seemed, well 
affected to the Bourbons, held high rejoicing for 
the expected departure of the enemy : in the latter, 
the allied troops were busied in preparation for 
the embarkation, which had been ordered for the 


morrow. One man only among the thousands 
who rejoiced in fancied success, or murmured in 
fancied failure, knew that the great stake was to 
be won or lost before the noon of the next day ; 
in his mind the plans of the night's enterprise 
were fully formed, every difficulty was anticipated, 
and, as far as might be, guarded against, each 
possible advantage foreseen and calculated upon. 

In the afternoon of Sunday the 13th, a detach- 
ment of English and Dutch troops, 1200 strong, 
was ordered to assemble in the allied camp, many 
imagined for the purpose of covering the embark- 
ation. Scaling-ladders and all things necessary 
for an assault had already been privately pre- 
pared. About six o'clock in the evening 400 
grenadiers of this party, under the command of 
the Honourable Colonel Southwell, were ordered 
to march by the Serria road, as if on route to 
Tarragona to meet the fleet and embark in that 
harbour: the remainder of the detachment fol" 
lowed in support at some little distance. 

At nightfall the Prince of Hesse Darmstadt 


was surprised by Lord Peterborough's entrance 
into his quarters, as, since their rupture, all in- 
tercourse had ceased between them. "I have 
determined," said the British general, " to make 
this night an attack upon the enemy. You may 
now, if you please, be a judge of our behaviour, 
and see whether my officers and soldiers really 
deserve the bad character which you, of late, have 
so readily imputed to them." He then explained 
that the troops were already on their march 
towards Montjuich. The Prince immediately or- 
dered his horse and unhesitatingly joined them, 
and the two gallant but wayward chiefs rode side 
by side against the enemy. About ten at night 
they overtook the head of the advancing column, 
and Peterborough suddenly ordered a total change 
in the route, he himself leading. They then 
marched directly upon Fort Montjuich. The 
roads were circuitous, narrow, and difficult ; for a 
great part of the way there was only room for 
single files to pass ; the night was very dark : the 
detachment was many hours on the march, so that 


it was nearly break of day before they) reached 
the foot of the hill upon which the fort of Mont- 
juich stood. 

The general's design was now evident to the 
allied troops; however, the officers and soldiers 
concluded that they would be immediately led to 
the attack under cover of the still-lingering dark- 

Peterborough's arrangements were different; 
he had well considered the subject, and determined 
to avoid the risks and confusion of a night assault. 
He called his officers together during this anxious 
interval, and explained his design with the reasons 
for its adoption. He had closely examined the 
place ; the ditches he had found open and unem- 
barrassed by palisades or barriers. The defences 
were, besides, so far imperfect that the inner works 
had not sufficient elevation to command the outer, 
should the latter be carried by an enemy. This 
suggested to him the idea of endeavouring to 
gain the outworks by a coup-de-main, when he 
judged that the body of the place could not after- 
wards hold out. In this view he determined to 


induce the defenders to meet him upon the outer 
works, by an open assault in the light of day. In 
case of a reverse, or to enable him to take advan- 
tage of success, he had placed in reserve, under 
Brigadier-General Stanhope, at a convent mid- 
way between the camp and the city, called La 
Cruz Cubierta, a body of 1000 infantry with all 
his handful of cavalry. 

Peterborough then silently and coolly com- 
pleted his arrangements for the assault/ He 
divided the body under his immediate command 
into three parties ; the first of which, 280 strong, 
he, assisted by the Prince of Hesse, headed in 
person. A lieutenant and 30 men formed the 
advance of this small band ; a captain, with 50 
more, succeeded in support, and the remainder, 
200 men, were ordered to follow in the rear. 
This main attack was directed against the bastion 
facing the town, the strongest part of the de- 
fences. The orders issued were, that they should 
push forward despite the enemy's fire, leap into 
the ditch, drive the garrison before them, and 
enter the works with them, if possible, but if not, 


to obtain at least a firm footing on the outer de- 

A column of like strength and formation, under 
the Honourable Colonel Southwell, was directed 
against an unfinished demi-bastion on the extreme 
western point of the fort, and the farthest from 
the town. The remainder of Peterborough's 
force wai held in reserve under a colonel of the 
Dutch army, with orders to assist whenever their 
presence might become most necessary. They 
occupied a position a little in the rear, between 
the two parties which were to make the assault. 

Shortly after daylight the British troops re- 
ceived the order to advance, and immediately, in 
high spirits and in perfect order, they pushed up 
the brow of the hill towards the fort. Some of 
the enemy's Miquelets were the first to alarm the 
garrison; they poured an irregular volley into 
the British troops as they ascended the crest, 
and then retreated into the fort. 

The garrison turned out promptly, but in some 
confusion, and manned the works in time to re- 
ceive the assailants with a sharp fire. Unchecked 


by this reception, the leading grenadiers leaped 
into the unfinished ditch, clambered up the outer 
rampart, and fell with sword and bayonet upon 
the defenders. The second detachment speedily 
followed ; the Spaniards gave way, broke, and 
fled, and friends and foes rushed together in wild 
confusion into the bastion. Peterborough and 
the Prince, with the main body of their detach- 
ment, then hastened in after them in perfect 
order, and mastered the position. Before the 
defenders had recovered sufficiently from this first 
blow to bring their guns to bear upon the British 
troops, an entrenchment was rapidly thrown up 
with the materials which chanced to have been 
collected there for some extensive repairs then in 
progress to strengthen the fort. 

The attention of the garrison of Montjuich 
was altogether occupied by the dangers of this 
formidable onslaught. The Prince Caraccioli della 
Torrella, a Neapolitan officer, then in temporary 
command of the fort, ordered all his force to 
concentrate at the threatened point. This was 
precisely what Peterborough had anticipated ; he 

VOL. I. N 


immediately despatched Brigadier-General Lord 
Charlemont to bring up the troops under Colonel 
Southwell to the attack of the now almost de- 
fenceless western face. This order was gallantly 
executed ; at the first rush the ditch was passed, 
the rampart gained, the outer wall scaled, and 
three guns taken, without the loss of a man. 

Now, however, the defenders hastened to avert 
the new and unexpected danger ; they opened a 
deadly fire, and even endeavoured to retake the 
outer rampart with the bayonet. A bloody con- 
test ensued ; many British officers and soldiers 
fell in their stubborn determination to hold what 
they had gained. Southwell, their chief, a man 
of great personal strength and daring, was thrice 
surrounded by the Spaniards, but each time cut 
his way out in safety. This desperate sally was, 
at length, repulsed, and the assailants leisurely 
entrenched their position, and turned the captured 
guns against the fort. 

"While both the attacking divisions were em- 
ployed in sheltering themselves, the noise of the 
battle was for a time silenced. The besieged 


could not venture to advance, as they would have 
been immediately exposed to a fire, and to the 
risk of a flank attack. Peterborough busied 
himself in preparation for a fresh assault ; he 
ordered up the reserve of 1000 men under Stan- 
hope, and made prodigious exertions to get guns 
and rnortars into position upon the newly-won 

Meanwhile, Velasco, the viceroy, had been 
alarmed by the loud roar of musketry from the 
citadel. Great was his surprise to find himself 
threatened in this vital point by an enemy whose 
supposed departure he had already celebrated. 
The tocsin was sounded in Barcelona ; the troops 
rapidly assembled, the lines were manned, and a 
body of 400 horse grenadiers, under the Marquis 
de Risbourg, was hurried off to Montjuich, with 
orders to succour it at all hazards. Peterborough 
had foreseen this movement. He could not spare 
men from his own scanty force to guard the 
passes between the fort and city, but he had 
posted a number of Miquelets in a narrow gorge, 
in which they might readily have forbidden all 

N 2 


passage with hardly any risk to themselves. These 
unruly peasants, however, failed him in his hour 
of need ; they scarcely waited to receive the 
dragoons with a harmless volley before they 
dispersed among the hills. He learned then a 
lesson which he never afterwards forgot, that 
these irregular allies, formidable as they were in 
harassing an enemy, or in pursuing a beaten foe, 
were utterly unworthy of confidence in any plan 
of combined action. The succours, therefore, 
reached Montjuich in safety ; 200 men were dis- 
mounted and thrown in ; the remainder, leading 
their horses, returned to Barcelona. 

The Marquis de Risbourg, on entering the 
fort, practised a stratagem which speedily renewed 
the fight, and had very nearly destroyed the 
British force. He caused his men to shout aloud 
" Long live King Charles the Third ! " and at the 
same time actually threw open the gates as if in 
surrender. The Prince of Darmstadt, who com- 
manded at that moment, was completely deceived 
by these demonstrations, and ordered the advance 
of 250 men under Colonel Allen, he himself 


following with about a company in reserve. 
They^ advanced eagerly and in some disorder 
into the ditch, but were instantly assailed in 
front and flank by a murderous fire; the melee 
lasted but a few minutes. Peterborough hastened 
to the spot, but only arrived in time to find the 
Prince struck down by a mortal wound, while 
yet encouraging the remnant of his men, and 
Allen with 200 of his followers borne back as 
prisoners to the fort. 

For a time the Prince of Hesse strove to 
conceal his wound ; but the main artery of his 
thigh had been severed by the bullet, and his life 
ebbed fast away. He fell at last, "the vital 
spirits of that great heart being no longer able 
to support him." They bore him to the nearest 
house, but before the wound could be examined 
he expired ; " to the inexpressible grief of the 
King, his officers and soldiers, the seamen, and 
particularly the Spaniards, for the loss of so good 
and great a man." 

While the brave prince was dying, the affairs 
of the allies had taken an alarming turn. The 

N 3 


viceroy Velasco had despatched 3000 men, as fast 
as they could be got together, to follow Risbourg's 
dragoons to the assistance of Montjuich; they 
were now in sight. There was no longer time 
for mourning over the gallant dead. Peterborough 
without delay mounted his horse, and galloped 
down the hills to reconnoitre the advancing 
Spaniards. His brief absence had well nigh 
proved fatal. One of those strange panics which 
sometimes flash like an electric shock through 
the noblest soldiery, seized the British troops; 
without any apparent cause, without being ex- 
posed to a single bullet, they wavered, became 
confused, and obeyed, with shameful alacrity, the 
unworthy order of Lord Charlemont for a retreat. 
The march soon became a flight, and they aban- 
doned in wild haste the positions which but a 
little time before they had so bravely won. 

A staff-officer named Captain George Carleton 
promptly disentangled himself from among the 
fugitives, and hurried to acquaint Lord Peter- 
borough of this "shameful and surprising acci- 
dent." " Good God ! is it possible ? " exclaimed the 


general ; and leaving the advancing Spaniards to 
do their worst, he galloped up the hill. Already 
his troops were half-way down. He drew his 
sword, cast away the scabbard, and, burning with 
indignation at the disgraceful order to retreat, 
dismounted, put himself at the head of the 
troops, and cried, " I am sure all brave men will 
follow me. Will you bear the eternal infamy 
and scandal of having deserted your post and 
forsaken your general ? " The appeal was not in 
vain: they faced about with "alacrity and new 
courage," and, forgetting their apprehensions, fol- 
lowed Peterborough, and soon regained all the 
ground they had lost, and this too without op- 
position ; for so great was the confusion through- 
out in the strange contest, that the enemy had 
never discovered that the positions had been 
abandoned, even during the lapse of half-an-hour, 
" though," writes Captain Carleton, " had our 
forces marched half a musket shot farther, their 
retreat would have been perceived, and all the 
success attending this glorious attempt would 
have been entirely blasted." 

N 4 


The Marquis de Risbourg, meanwhile, made 
his way out of Montjuich at the side near the 
city, bearing with him in triumph Colonel Allen 
and the other English prisoners whom he had 
taken, and pushed on towards Barcelona in great 
haste, fearing that he might be intercepted. 
About half-way he met the reinforcement of 
3000 men sent by Velasco. The prisoners in- 
formed the Spanish commanders that Lord Peter- 
borough and the Prince of Hesse led the attack 
upon Montjuich in person. Hereupon the chief 
of the reinforcement concluded that the whole 
allied force was before him, and that his only 
chance of escaping destruction was to return as 
speedily as possible. This happy delusion proved 
all important to the besiegers ; had the Spaniards 
then pressed on, Peterborough, as yet unsup- 
ported by Stanhope, could hardly have escaped 

As the Spaniards hastily retreated, the Mi- 
quelets swarmed at their heels, harassing them 
effectually. A small garrison that held the little 
fort of San Bertran, alarmed by the retrograde 


movements of their comrades, and fearful of being 
cut off, abandoned their post, and joined the 
retreat. The armed peasants soon replaced them ; 
by this all further communication between the 
town and citadel was cut off, and five light guns 
were taken, which presently proved highly useful 
to the captors. 

Peterborough pursued his advantage with de- 
moniac energy. The three guns taken in South- 
well's first attack, and the five pieces won by the 
Miquelets at San Bertran, were brought to bear 
in less than an hour upon the inner defences of 
Montjuich. Aides-de-camp were despatched with 
all speed to command the landing of heavy guns 
and mortars from the fleet. Stanhope's fresh 
men, who had now come up, were urged on to 
vigorous exertion in completing the entrenchments 
and batteries of attack ; while the Miquelets 
were dispersed in swarms among the ravines and 
groves around the city, so as to interrupt all exit, 
and to mask the movements of the besiegers. 
The skill and ability of Velasco appear to have 
completely deserted him at this juncture. With 


a force at that time actually superior to the whole 
land force of his enemy, he suffered the daring 
Englishman to crush the defenders of Montjuich, 
and to carry on difficult and perilous operations 
unopposed, for two all -important days. He ap- 
peared to have been paralysed by Peterborough's 
astounding audacity. 

While the Earl thus exercised his energy upon 
the living, he was not forgetful of the noble dead. 
His personal animosity against the Prince of 
Hesse had passed away with its cause. He 
remembered no longer the bitter taunts, or un- 
worthy accusations, since he who had spoken had 
given his life for the good Cause. The body 
was laid out in state. " It lies at a convent 
hired by the Earl of Peterborough for that pur- 
pose. He is dressed with his wig, hat, and usual 
clothes, with his boots on, a sword in one hand, 
and a cane in the other ; a priest is continually 
about his corpse, praying, and the place is ever 
crowded with Spaniards who come to see him." 

In the meantime, the light cannon of the 
besiegers had but little effect upon the massive 


walls of the fortress; the Prince of Caraccioli 
held out obstinately for two days even against 
the heavier metal of mortars and breaching 
guns that was shortly afterwards brought to 
bear. But on the 17th Colonel Southwell 
managed to alter the face of affairs. He, 
happening to command in the trenches on that 
day, directed the attention of a Dutch sub- 
officer, who was in charge of a heavy mortar, to 
a small chapel within the fort which appeared to 
be especially guarded by the besieged. The 
bombardier made repeated efforts to hit this 
object, but the shots all fell to the left. Southwell, 
although quite new to the practice of artillery, 
undertook the management of the mortar himself, 
and soon succeeded in dropping a shell upon the 
roof of the building, which proved to be the 
magazine; it crashed through and exploded, and 
in a moment shattered the chapel to fragments : 
it killed the brave Caraccioli and three other 
officers who were at dinner with him, and left a 
yawning breach in the main rampart. 

When the din and smoke had subsided, the 


garrison rushed out of the works to seek safety in 
surrender. They were met by Southwell, who 
was at the same time advancing at the head of 
the guards of the trenches to avail himself of the 
confusion. The senior surviving officer, Don 
Juan Franco de Mena, and his companions, 
gladly delivered up their swords to the British 
Colonel and begged protection from the Miquelets, 
who had already with ferocious alacrity begun to 
take advantage of the opportunity. Protection 
was of course afforded ; and besides the chief, De 
Mena, fifteen officers and three hundred men fell 
into the hands of the victors. Peterborough, 
with the consent of the King, named Colonel 
Southwell governor of the fortress which his 
courage and skill had so largely contributed to 

This brilliant achievement completely changed 
the prospects of the army; supineness and dis- 
content no longer existed. Sailors and soldiers 
rivalled each other in their exertions. Even the 
jealousy of the wretched German courtiers was 
silenced by the splendour of Lord Peterborough's 


success. The Miquelets became orderly and 
active in the labours of the trenches, while their 
numbers largely increased. Stanhope, strength- 
ened by a reinforcement from the main army, 
conducted the attack from the side of Montjuich. 
Four batteries of heavy guns and two of mortars 
were soon enabled to open fire by the vigour of 
the leader, and the hopeful activity of his men. 
Then the cannonade became general on both sides 
of the city. Many of the smaller vessels of the 
fleet warped close in to the shore and threw shot 
and shell, while the artillery from the trenches 
played constantly upon the landward side. 

A breach soon rewarded the efforts of the 
besiegers, but the viceroy Velasco still stood firm. 
His was a trying position. A general capable 
of anything that skill could suggest and daring 
execute, supported by a powerful army flushed 
with success, threatened him from without; the 
wide-spread disaffection of the inhabitants, and the 
doubtful loyalty even of his officers and soldiers, 
were still more alarming within. His citadel 
was already lost, and a practicable breach lay 


open to the assailants. Still to every proposition 
of surrender he returned answer, that he " would 
rather bury himself in the ruins of the city he 
had been commissioned to defend." He arrested 
many of the mutinous soldiers and hostile inhabit- 
ants, and drove others out of the walls. Every 
thing that was possible was done to protect the 
breach, and every preparation made for a vigorous 

King Charles received all those who had been 
driven from Barcelona by Velasco, and made 
provision for them as far as his scanty resources 
allowed. Meanwhile he removed his quarters to 
Sierra, that he might be nearer the point of attack, 
and he especially turned his attention to organising 
the Miquelets. These active light troops proved 
now of great value, guarding every avenue of 
approach to the city, and completely establishing 
a blockade. The King was constantly in the 
batteries or the bombarding ships ; and on one 
occasion, when eight vessels fired all their guns 
in a salvo at his request, and the shower of 
missiles fell together into the town, he gave vent 


to his satisfaction in the strongest terms, and 
made handsome presents to the gunners. 

On the 3rd of October the English engineers 
declared that the breach on the side of Montjuich 
was fully practicable ; whereon Peterborough 
wrote himself to Don Velasco, offering honourable 
terms of capitulation, but declaring, at the same 
time, that should they now be refused he would 
not offer them again. The viceroy unhesitatingly 
rejected them. Within the breach he had cast 
up a formidable entrenchment, and below the 
ruins of the shattered battlements he had sunk 
two mines for the purpose of blowing up the 
advancing columns of the assailants. Thus pre- 
pared, he awaited the desperate chances of the 

Thereupon Peterborough plied his guns more 
vigorously than ever. The Dutch officer, whose 
mortar Southwell had worked with such success 
against Montjuich, was now in charge of the 
battery nearest the breach ; and, in the presence 
of the general, succeeded in throwing two shells 
upon the entrenchment which almost destroyed it, 


and another on the breach itself, which, crashing 
through the rubbish, fired Velasco's mines, and 
blew open the whole front of the work. " If I 
had but 2000 men in readiness," shouted Peter- 
borough with exultation, " I should immediately 
storm the town." 

But a higher glory lay in store for him, that of 
giving an example of scrupulous honour, and of 
protecting the vanquished. He hastened to his 
tent, and once more wrote to summon his gallant 
enemy. " The garrison can expect no relief. I 
advise you to prevent the consequences of an 
assault. This is the last letter I shall write." 
The viceroy then agreed to capitulate if the place 
were not relieved within four days, and Brigadier- 
General Stanhope and the Conde de Ribera were 
exchanged as hostages. It was agreed that the 
garrison should march out with all the honours of 
war, that they should be transported by sea to 
San Feliz, near Palamos, and escorted thence to 
Gerona. The gate of San Angelo was to be 
immediately delivered up to the allies ; the foot 
were to march out through the breach, the horse 


through the gate of San Antonio, and nineteen 
pieces of artillery were allowed to be taken with 
them. This capitulation was signed in the 
evening of the 9th of October, but in a few hours 
after news arrived that Gerona had declared for 
King Charles ; upon this, Yelasco requested to be 
conveyed to Rosas instead. 

On the 14th the garrison was preparing to 
march out when a sudden tumult arose in the 
town, the noise of which reached even the English 
camp. The viceroy had added the unpopularity 
of extreme repressive measures against the dis- 
affected in the city, to the Catalan hatred of the 
French cause. The Austrian party determined to 
wreak vengeance upon their fallen oppressor. They 
spread a report that he designed to carry away 
many of the principal inhabitants as prisoners, in 
spite of the capitulation. This rumour excited the 
people to madness; aided by a number of Mi- 
quelets, who had managed to introduce themselves 
into the city unobserved, they assailed and rifled 
the houses of the French, and of the partisans of 
the Duke of Anjou. Their rage was next turned 

YOL. I. o 


upon Velasco and his garrison, who, dispersed 
and panic-stricken, dreaded a general massacre. 

Peterborough had himself observed the uproar ; 
he immediately mounted, put himself at the head 
of some orderly dragoons, and, directing four com- 
panies of grenadiers to follow as quickly as they 
could, spurred to the city. At the gate of San 
Angelo, where the confusion was greatest, the 
Spanish guard immediately obeyed his demand for 
admittance, and the English general rode almost 
alone into the town against which, a few days 
before, he had waged deadly hostility. Even his 
great influence was, for a time, insufficient to ar- 
rest the work of devastation. However, with the 
aid of his dragoons and grenadiers, he presently 
enforced his orders. His own men behaved ad- 
mirably, seconding his exertions to save those 
who had lately been their enemies. 

At the first outbreak of the tumult most of the 
ladies of quality had sought refuge in a convent ; 
there Peterborough placed a guard over them, 
and directed that they should be treated with all 
possible respect. When returning from this good 


work, begrimed with dust, and having lost his 
hat, he fell upon an adventure that exactly suited 
his chivalrous and eccentric disposition. A lady 
and gentleman, evidently of high rank, were 
struggling with the mob, who endeavoured to 
prevent their escape. The Earl immediately 
charged to the rescue ; the mob resisted, not at 
first recognising, in the strange hatless figure, the 
redoubted general. He, however, fortunately met 
some of his dragoons, and with their assistance 
carried the lady and gentleman off in triumph to a 
house hard by, where they were safe. A Miquelet, 
furious at being deprived of his prey, fired at him, 
but the bullet happily wounded no more vital 
part than his Lordship's perrivyig. Great was 
Peterborough's satisfaction when he discovered 
that the gentleman he had saved was the Duke, 
and the lady the beautiful Duchess of Popoli, and 
it was much the longer part of an hour before he 
left them. The tumult being at length appeased, 
he left the town, and returned to the camp to 
await the stipulated time of taking possession. 
At the hour appointed he again went back, with 
o 2 


a sufficient guard, and caused proclamation to be 
made, in all the public places of Barcelona, " That 
if any person have any lawful demands upon Don 
Francisco de Velasco, they shall repair to the 
Town House, there enter their claims, and I 
shall see them satisfied." This considerateness, 
together with his affability and disinterestedness, 
wonderfully endeared him to the Catalans. 

Another circumstance occurred that evening 
which also made a very favourable impression. 
Several of the principal inhabitants waited upon 
him to know Avhat place he desired to pitch upon 
for the exercise of his religion. He replied that 
" Wherever I may have my quarters, I shall have 
conveniency enough to worship God ; and as for 
the rest of the army, they shall strictly follow 
the rules of war, and perform divine service 
among themselves, without giving any disturbance 
or offence to any body." This answer was 
peculiarly gratifying to the people, as the French 
emissaries had reported that the Protestants 
would take their churches from them. That day 
Peterborough magnificently entertained all the 


people of distinction of both parties at his own 
charge ; and so great was the confidence that 
he had inspired, that the following morning the 
shops were open, and the markets as busy with 
traffic as if the tranquillity of Barcelona had never 
been disturbed. 

Rumours were still afloat, however, that the 
viceroy Velasco would be again pursued by the 
vengeance of the people. Peterborough deter- 
mined that such a stain as the assassination of the 
man who had trusted his life in his hands, should 
not rest upon him ; he, therefore, provided a guard 
of eight hundred men to protect and convoy the 
viceroy safely to the ships. Alicant was now 
selected by Velasco as his destination. He was 
unwilling to trust himself again to the men of 
Catalonia at Rosas, which was then, indeed, the 
only town in the province that had not declared 
for King Charles. 

Thus ended the siege of Barcelona, It cannot 

be denied that its capture was one of the most 

brilliant achievements on any record. This one 

victory was sufficient to prove the transcendant 

o s 


military genius of the eccentric conqueror. His 
actions during those few short weeks were an 
epitome of those of his whole life. He exhibited 
some of the highest, and yet not a few of the 
lowest qualities. Profound prudence, faithful 
adherence to his Sovereign's orders, patience, self- 
command, secresy, for many weary and appa- 
rently hopeless days; then, suddenly, when fit 
time came, he flashed forth into matchless daring, 
romantic chivalry, and boundless generosity. It 
is probable that he alone could have overcome 
the difficulties that were opposed to him: the 
powerful army, the able general, the vast fortified 
position, the citadel that frowned down upon 
him from the rugged heights, might well have 
appalled a brave man. But far more trying for 
such a spirit as his, was the ill-concealed hatred 
of many of those with whom he had to co-operate, 
the wrong-headedness of the King, the almost 
treachery of the German courtiers, and the 
supineness of the Dutch. On the other hand, 
many of his own peculiar weaknesses were fre- 
quently exhibited : he changed his mind, in the 


first instance, every day; his intolerable vanity 
irritated his colleagues ; he took a spiteful pleasure 
in aggravating the vexations of the Prince of 
Hesse ; he hardly restrained his tongue within 
respectful limits to the King, and delighted in in- 
sulting the courtiers; his apparent liberality about 
the arrangements for divine worship was, perhaps, 
but a scoff at all sacred things ; and even his most 
gallant conduct in the tumult after the capitulation 
was not altogether free from the absurdities of a 

o 4 



BARCELONA was no sooner occupied, and affairs 
put in tolerable order, than advice of the impor- 
tant event was despatched by King Charles to 
Holland and England. Lord Shannon and Bri- 
gadier-General Stanhope had the honour of 
conveying the news to Queen Anne, in a long 
and grateful letter from the King, and a short 
and eloquent one from Lord Peterborough. For 
a considerable time contrary winds delayed their 
arrival in England, and it was not until the 22nd 
of November that the Canterbury man-of-war 
landed the bearers of the glad tidings at St. 

The following extracts from King Charles's 
letter to Queen Anne are interesting, as relating 
directly to the subject of these memoirs : 

"I must do justice to all your officers and common 
soldiers, and in particular to my Lord Peterborough ; 


that he has shown, throughout this expedition, a con- 
stancy, valor, and conduct worthy the choice which your 
Majesty made of him ; and that he could not give me 
greater satisfaction than he has done, of the great 
zeal and application which he has equally shown for 
my interest and service." * * * * 

"When your Majesty's troops entered the town 
with the Earl of Peterborough, instead of busying 
themselves with plundering, as is usual on such occa- 
sions, they appeased the disorder, and saved the town, 
and even the lives of their enemies, with a discipline 
and generosity without example." 

On the 28th of October Charles made his 
public entry into the conquered city, not as a 
conqueror, but as a deliverer. He was there 
proclaimed King, and was received with general 
acclamations and all suitable rejoicings for so 
happy an event. Some days after this, the prin- 
cipal citizens requested permission to celebrate 
the occasion by a grand and formal demonstra- 
tion : their loyal request was acceded to, and 
becoming preparations were accordingly made. 

On the appointed day the King appeared at 
the balcony of Lord Peterborough's house, to 


receive the procession. First, a long cavalcade 
of the principal citizens in gala dress passed in 
order, saluting the King reverently as they went. 
After these followed several pageants ; the first 
of which was drawn by mules, set off to the height 
by stateliest feathers, and adorned with bells : upon 
the top of this pageant appeared a man dressed 
all in green, but in the likeness of a dragon. 
The pageant making a stop just over against the 
balcony where the King sat, the dragonical repre- 
sentative diverted him with a great variety of 
dancings ; the Earl of Peterborough all the time 
throwing out dollars by handfulls among the 
populace, which they as constantly received with 
loud acclamations, and repeated cries of " Viva, 
Viva, Carlos Tercero ! " " Viva la Casa de Austria! " 
The eccentric Earl was in his glory, in the midst 
of this strange scene of mingled gravity and folly. 
By every means in his power, Charles wisely 
endeavoured to secure the affection of the people ; 
his efforts were successful, and in no instance 
more so than in that related by Captain Carleton, 
in the following anecdote. The King passing 


through the fruit-market in his coach, the host 
was brought at that very juncture out of the 
great Church, in order to a poor sick woman's 
receiving the Sacrament. On the sight of the 
host, the King left his coach and kneeled down 
in the dirty street till it passed by; he then 
arose, and, taking the flambeau from him who 
bore it, himself carried it to the sufferer. This 
apparent devotion to the rites of the church 
made a peculiarly favourable impression on the 
people, who had been before in some instances 
inclined to question the orthodoxy of a prince 
whose mainstay was the Protestant, or at least 
the decidedly anti-catholic, Earl of Peterborough. 
While the British general held aloof from any 
interference with the religion of the Catalans, he 
lost no time in publishing, by his Queen's autho- 
rity, a solemn assurance to preserve to Catalonia 
the enjoyment of her ancient Fueros, the Magna 
Charta of the province. Upon these popular an- 
nouncements, and the reduction of Barcelona, the 
towns of Gerona, Taragona, Tortosa, and Lerida 
either were taken by the peasantry or declared 


for the Austrian cause. The open country was 
unanimous for Charles. Of the Spanish garri- 
son of Barcelona, not more than 'one thousand 
men availed themselves of the capitulation ; the 
remainder, including all the cavalry, enlisted 
under the banners of their conquerors. The 
insurrection against Philip spread rapidly through 
all Arragon as well as Catalonia, and, headed by 
the Marquis de Cifuentes, and Generals Basset 
and Nebot, obtained important successes. 

The King's popularity being secured at Barce- 
lona, a council of war was held of all the principal 
land and sea officers, to determine their further 
proceedings ; as usual, but little harmony existed. 
The German ministers, especially Prince Lichten- 
stein and M. Zinzerling, thwarted Peterborough 
as much as lay in their power. Their opposition 
was of a very different nature from that of the 
gallant Prince of Hesse : his was prompted by an 
ardent, though ill-directed, desire to advance the 
common cause ; theirs, by avarice and ignorance. 
Lord Peterborough chafed sorely at these com- 
temptible obstacles. He writes : " God preserve 


any country from the best of German ministers."* 
The Dutch generals, too, threw the dead weight 
of their phlegmatic national character upon the 
Councils ; they opposed every proposition for 
action, and insisted that the army should rest 
contented with the conquest of Barcelona. 
Finally, however, the more active spirit of the 
King, backed by Peterborough's quenchless 
energy, prevailed. Charles determined to venture 
his person among the loyal Catalans, and to 
remain at Barcelona; \vhile Peterborough, with 
the whole of the land force and all the marines 
that could be spared from the fleet, was to pursue 
operations in Catalonia and Valencia. 

The season being so far spent that no further 
maritime operations could be undertaken, the 
allied fleet, under Sir Cloudesley Shovel and 
Admiral Allemonde, sailed for Lisbon and 
England, leaving four British and two Dutch 
frigates in support of the land force at Barcelona. 
On his way Shovel landed Don Velasco, with the 

* See Appendix. 


few troops who had adhered to the fortunes of 
the Bourbons, at Alicant. 

While Cifuentes and the Miquelets were accom- 
plishing their conquests in the country, and in 
the Catalonian towns, the King turned his atten- 
tion to the organisation of a Spanish army. He 
formed a regiment of five hundred dragoons for 
his body-guard, mounting them upon the horses of 
the former garrison ; and, from a levy raised by the 
States of Catalonia, together with the enemy's 
deserters, he completed six powerful battalions 
of infantry. He, however, made the unpopular 
error of bestowing the chief commands in these 
corps upon foreigners : both the colonel and 
lieutenant-colonel of his body-guard were Ger- 
mans, Count Zinzendorf and Colonel Rieutort. 

Meanwhile Philip of Anjou was not idle. 
Every effort was made to check the Valencian 
insurrection, the neighbourhood of which to the 
capital rendered it especially formidable. While 
Peterborough gained laurels at Barcelona, Gene- 
rals Lord Galway and Fagel succumbed to the 
better fortune of Marshal Tesse before Badajos. 


The news of these different events in the two 
opposite extremities of Spain, reached the Court 
of Madrid almost at the same time. The intel- 
ligence of the retreat of the allied army over the 
frontier of Portugal arrived shortly after, and 
filled the adherents of France with exultation. 

After the decision of the council of war, 
Peterborough despatched garrisons of regular 
troops to occupy the several towns that had 
fallen into the power of the allies, sending an 
engineer to each, with orders to put them in a 
state of defence. 200 dragoons and 1000 foot 
were sent to Tortosa under Colonel Hans Hamil- 
ton, and San Matteo was intrusted to Colonel 
Jones, with a garrison of 500 Miquelets. Tor- 
tosa was, perhaps, the most important of these 
new positions. It commanded the bridge of 
boats over the Ebro, the main communication 
between Arragon and Valencia, and therefore 
was essential to the allied operations. The place 
was in itself tolerably defensible. 

Difficulties were, however, still thrown in the 
way of Peterborough's more active movements. 


At a council of war held on the 30th of Decem- 
ber at Barcelona, he proposed to divide the re- 
mainder of the army, half to march into Arragon, 
and half, under the general in person, to aid 
the Valencian insurrection. Brigadier-General 
Conyngham among the British officers, and 
Schratenbach among the Dutch, were strongly 
opposed to this bold counsel. They stated that 
the troops required repose after their arduous 
and successful labours, and that their numbers 
were hardly sufficient even to guard the posi- 
tions they had already won. They succeeded 
in creating a delay. However, the troops, far 
from being reinvigorated by rest, suffered much 
from illness, and the precious opportunity of the 
enemy's dismay was already almost lost. Peter- 
borough still urged the Valencian expedition, 
and offered to undertake it with any force that 
could be placed at his disposal. 

While thus hesitating, further news reached 
the Court of the successes of the Valencian 
insurrection. In the beginning of December 
Don Rafael Nebot, colonel of a regiment of 


dragoons under Philip of Anjou, passed over 
to the allies with 400 of his men, and entered 
Denia, amid the rejoicings of the inhabitants 
and of Basset the governor. On the llth, 
anxious to prove his newborn loyalty, Nebot 
joined Basset in an expedition against the little 
neighbouring town of Xabea, which was gar- 
risoned by 500 Biscayans, and carried it by 
assault on the 12th; they took Oliva and occu- 
pied Gandia the same night. On the 13th 
they pushed on through Alzira, where many 
notables joined them ; and a detachment of their 
dragoons, under Nebot's brother, surprised and 
routed three troops of the enemy's horse, cap- 
tured their convoy of ammunition, and pursued 
them to the very gates of Valencia. 

On the night of the 15th the main body re- 
commenced their march in profound silence, and 
the next morning appeared before Valencia. 
They summoned the viceroy, the Marquis de 
Villa Garcia, to an immediate surrender, which 
he refused. But Alexander Nebot, flushed with 
his success of the day before, put himself at the 

VOL. I. P 


head of his troops, and bearing the picture of 
Charles III. in one hand, and his drawn sword 
in the other, galloped up to the gates, shouting 
" Long live the King !" The gates were soon 
forced or opened by the inhabitants, and Philip's 
viceroy was captured. 

While the insurgents were thus carrying all 
before them, the Conde de las Torres, a veteran 
officer of the Italian wars, marched from Madrid 
with all haste to prevent, if possible, the junction of 
the successful forces of Catalonia with the Valen- 
cians. He threw himself vigorously upon San 
Matteo as the main point of communication, and 
pressed the siege with great skill and courage. 

At this juncture there was no available force 
at Tortosa but 200 dragoons, and three weak 
British regiments of infantry, numbering only 
1000 men. On the 1st of January 1706, Peter- 
borough received a strange despatch from the 
King, urging him to hasten to the relief of San 
Matteo at all hazards, and at the same time 
" full of excuses instead of forces." " Illustrious 
Earl of Peterborough, General and Commander of 


my troops, * * * Tilly, who has with him 1000 
horse and 1000 foot, is surrounded by the coun- 
try people. * * * Having demanded from the 
officer who is at Tortosa some regular men to 
animate those of the country, and being answered 
that he had no orders, * * * I have resolved * * * 
to write * * * that you may give speedy direction 
in it. * * * For it is impossible that any can escape 
if the troops of the Queen * * * assist * * * the 
country people." It was true that at the same 
time orders were sent to the 3000 Spanish troops 
in the neighbouring garrisons to join Lord Peter- 
borough on the march, and the regiment of 
Aumada was also nominally placed at his disposal. 
But with true Spanish perverseness, not a com- 
pany of these promised reinforcements arrived to 
assist him in the enterprise. He was moreover 
embarrassed by the loss of a far more valuable 
assistance, on which he had calculated, in the 
brigade of General Conyngham ; who, deceived 
by exaggerated rumours of the enemy's strength, 
had abandoned the little town of Fraga, where 

r 2 


they were quartered, and had fallen back with 
unworthy haste upon the stronghold of Lerida. 

Peterborough, however, hesitated not a moment. 
Instead of delegating the orders to an inferior for 
execution, he himself took horse and rode day 
and night to Tortosa. He had sent a courier 
before him (he need have been an active one) to 
order Brigadier-General Killigrew, who com- 
manded there, to cross the Ebro, and march at 
once upon San Matteo with every available 

On the 4th the hard-riding general reached 
Tortosa, and, without wailing for rest, instantly 
summoned the magnates of the town to give him 
information. He was astonished, but not ap- 
palled, when the Spanish governor informed him 
of the true state of the case. The enemy under 
Las Torres, not Tilly as had been stated, were 
nearly 7000 strong, and the report of the 
peasantry being up in arms against them was so 
entirely false, that not one of "those 16,000 who 
were to let nobody escape " was forthcoming. 

There could be but one opinion among Peter- 


borough's officers as to the apparent hopelessness 
of any attempt under these circumstances. He 
did not tax his patience in endeavouring to per- 
suade. He only said that " unless I can raise 
that siege, our affairs are desperate, and therefore 
only capable of desperate remedies. Be content; 
let me try my fortune, whether I cannot by dili- 
gence and surprise effect that which by down- 
right force is impracticable." Such words from 
the man who had led them against Montjuich 
were sufficient for British officers; their con- 
fidence in their leader was unbounded ; they 
could not approve, but at least they acquiesced 
in, his design. 

On the 6th the three English regiments of 
infantry marched from Tortosa under Killigrew ; 
on the 7th Peterborough followed with the dra- 
goons and some Spanish militia. On the morn- 
ing of the 8th he broke up his small army into a 
number of detachments, and availing himself of 
efficient guides, he caused them all to assemble 
with admirable punctuality at the town of 
Fraiguesa, two leagues from San Matteo. Once 

r 3 


having got his troops within the walls, he 
mounted guards on each gate, with orders to 
prevent any one from getting out to communicate 
his approach to the enemy. 

It is certain that at this time the Conde de las 
Torres had not the least idea of the storm that 
was about to burst upon him, so admirably had 
Peterborough arranged to cut off intelligence. 
The plan he adopted was this ; he detached small 
parties of dragoons, and of the active Miquelets, 
at a rapid pace to a considerable distance in front, 
to occupy passes at stated intervals on his route. 
When arrived at these points they had strict 
orders to let no one pass to the front till the 
troops appeared in sight, when the advance again 
pushed forward, and secured another position for 
the same purpose. 

Peterborough, not satisfied with thus depriving 
the enemy of all true intelligence, determined to 
confuse him still more by that which was false. 
He prevailed upon two peasants by large bribes 
to carry each copies of the same letter to Colonel 
Jones in San Matteo. He however adopted 


double security for their loyalty, first by arresting 
their families as hostages, and secondly by letting 
them know nothing that any amount of treachery 
could render injurious to him. By a most inge- 
nious contrivance he arranged that one of them 
should be arrested by the enemy and carried to 
Las Torres. Under the threat of immediate death 
this peasant betrayed the route by which his com- 
panion was endeavouring to reach the city, and the 
second messenger also was accordingly captured. 
The letters having been thus got possession of, 
no doubt whatever was left upon the minds of 
the Spaniards that they were written in good 
faith to Colonel Jones for his instruction. It is 
unnecessary to say that there was not a word of 
truth in the communication from beginning to 
end, and that it was only meant to mislead those 
into whose hands it was soon to fall. The style 
is so admirably characteristic of the writer that no 
apology is needed for introducing it at full length. 

To Colonel Jones. 

" You will hardly believe yourself what this letter 
informs you of, if it comes safe to you ; and though I 


have taken the best precautions, it will do little 
prejudice if it falls into the enemy's hands; since 
they shall see and feel my troops almost as soon as 
they can receive intelligence, should it be betrayed to 
them. The end for which I venture it to you is, 
that you may prepare to open the furthest gate towards 
Valencia, and have your 1000 Miquelets ready, who 
will have the employment they love, and are fit for, 
the pursuing and pillaging a flying enemy. The 
country is, as one can wish, for their entire destruction. 
Be sure, upon the first appearance of our troops, and 
the first discharge of our artillery, you answer with 
an English halloo, and take to the mountains on the 
right, with all your men. It is no matter what 
becomes of the town, leave it to your mistresses. 
The Conde de las Torres must take the plains ; the 
hills on the left being almost impassable, and se- 
cured by 5000 or 6000 of the country-people. But 
what will most gall him, the old regiment of Nebot, 
which revolted to us near Valencia, is likewise among 

" I was eight days ago myself in Barcelona, and I 
believe the Conde de las Torres must have so good 
intelligence from thence, that he cannot be ignorant 
of it. What belongs to my own troops and my own 
resolutions, I can easily keep from him, though 
nothing else. You know the force I have, and the 


multitudes that are gathering from all parts against 
us, so that I am forced to put the whole upon this 
action, which must be decisive to give any hopes to 
our desperate game. By nine or ten, within an hour 
after you can receive this, assure yourself you will 
discover us on the tops of the hills, not two cannon- 
shot from their camp. 

" The advantages of the sea are inconceivable, and 
have contributed to bring about what you could never 
expect to see, a force almost equal to the enemy in 
number, and you know less would do our business. 
Besides, never men were so transported as to be 
brought with such secrecy so near an enemy. I have 
near 6000 men locked up this night within the walls 
of Traguera. I do not expect you should believe it 
till you see them. 

" You know we had 1000 foot and 200 dragoons in 
Tortosa; Wills and 1000 foot, English and Dutch, 
came down the Ebro in boats, and I embarked 1000 
more at Taragona, when I landed at Vinaroz, and the 
artillery from thence I brought in country carts. It 
was easy to assemble the horse; Zinzendorf and 
Moras are as good as our own, and, with our English 
dragoons, make in all near 2000. But the whole 
depends upon leaving them no retreat without in- 

"Dear Jones, prove a good dragoon, be diligent 


and alert ; and preach this welcome doctrine to your 
Miquelets, Plunder without danger. 

" Your friend, 


It never was known what became of the two 
unfortunate peasants, but it is certain that the 
letter was received by the person for whom it 
was intended, that is, Las Torres. As soon as 
the mendacious document was translated, orders 
were given to prepare for a march, and, almost at 
the same time, two events occurred in the works 
of the attack, that caused a good deal of con- 
fusion. In the haste of the besiegers to carry 
the place, several mines had been hurriedly and 
unskilfully sunk and charged ; one of these pre- 
maturely exploded, and destroyed forty of the 
workmen. Colonel Jones contrived to swamp 
the remaining mines, by turning the course of a 
brook upon them, which rendered them harmless 
to both friends and foes. 

While these disasters on the one hand, and the 
alarming rumour of the contents of the inter- 
cepted letter on the other, were spreading panic 


through the cainp, the first light of morning 
revealed the advance guards of Peterborough's 
force, as the letter had promised. By able 
management, the handful of Englishmen were 
made to appear vastly more numerous than they 
really were. They availed themselves of the 
wooded and uneven ground to conceal their 
weakness ; the tops of all the neighbouring hills, 
and the several avenues of approach, were made 
to appear covered by advancing columns. 

Las Torres, unsuspicious of stratagem, became 
now certain that his position was one of extreme 
danger. The confusion in his camp had, mean- 
while, greatly increased. The tents were hastily 
struck, the guns spiked, the stores and works 
were abandoned, and before Peterborough's 
theatrical arrangements could have even com- 
pleted their full effect, the Spanish army pressed 
along the Valencia road in a retreat that might 
well be called a flight. To complete the absurdity 
of this affair, Colonel Jones sallied forth from 
the town with his whole force in pursuit, followed 
Las Torres for nearly two leagues to Penasol, in- 


flicting a loss of nearly 300 men, while Peter- 
borough, on the other side, quietly took possession 
of the entrenchments and the town, which the 
contending parties had abandoned. 

But there was no rest for those who obeyed 
Lord Peterborough. Scarcely halting in the town, 
he made a show of pursuit as far as Albocazer, 
keeping to the hills with such caution, however, 
that, in case the enemy should become informed 
of his weakness, his retreat would be still secure. 
While actually on the march he received a 
despatch from King Charles, stating, that all the 
reinforcements which had been promised to aid 
in the relief of San Matteo had been counter- 
manded, in consequence of the unfavourable state 
of affairs elsewhere. The same courier brought 
Peterborough a letter from the English resident 
with the Court at Barcelona, the spirit of which 
is summed up in its concluding lines, " there 
is nothing here but distrust, discontent, and 

The retreat of Lord Gal way and Fagel having 
left the Duke of Berwick, with the main army 


of France, at liberty, this splendid force, animated 
by their recent triumph, was on full march for 
Catalonia. The Prince of Serclaes watched the 
small allied garrison of Lerida with 4000 men ; 
the Duke of Noailles, with 8000 French troops 
from Roussillon, threatened Catalonia on a third 
side ; while the Duke of Anjou and Marshal 
Tesse had collected 10,000 men at Madrid. 

The King's despatch, however, conveyed to 
Peterborough that which he valued more than 
reinforcements, a plenary discretion of action. 
Many extravagant compliments accompanied this 
privilege, which were also esteemed by him at 
their real value. Most men would have shrunk 
from each alternative that this responsibility left ; 
on the one hand, if he did not return to the 
defence of Catalonia, the King's person might be 
exposed to imminent danger, and, on the other, 
if he repassed the Ebro, he might be accused of 
having left Valencia and its loyal inhabitants to 
their fate, together with forfeiting all the advan- 
tages that his audacity and skill had already 


His difficulties in all cases were very great. 
His infantry were marching almost barefooted, 
and clothed in rags, during that inclement season, 
over stony mountains, and his dragoon horses 
were so exhausted that they could hardly carry 
their riders. Under these circumstances, in 
obedience to his general instructions, he sum- 
moned a council of war. 

The council proved as useless as such councils 
usually prove. They recorded with extreme 
care the difficulties and dangers of every plan 
which could be suggested ; they displayed a keen 
perception of the force of the enemy, and of 
their own weakness ; and at last announced their 
unanimous opinion, that no further operations 
should be undertaken for the conquest of Valencia, 
but that the little army should post itself in such 
a position as might give the greatest facility of 
protecting the King. 

Peterborough being thus advised to turn all 
his efforts towards Catalonia, and at the same 
time being urged by the King to strike a blow 
for Valencia, while all the promised aid for the 


purpose was withdrawn, his position was in- 
expressibly difficult. Against the overwhelming 
forces of the enemy, against the council of war, 
against the orders of the King, few sane men 
would have dared the apparently Quixotic enter- 
prise which he was forming all this time in his 
own brain, independently of kings and councils. 

He ordered the foot-sore infantry, with a few 
of the horse, to march back to Vinaroz, a little 
town on the sea-side, a day's journey from 
Tortosa, where, in case of necessity, they could 
embark in boats, and avail themselves of the 
Ebro in security. Then, to the astonishment of 
all, he announced his intention of proceeding 
with the remaining dragoons, about 150 in 
number, to conquer the kingdom of Valencia. 
The parting with his officers was very sad, for 
they doubted not that it was a final farewell: 
remonstrances with him were vain ; he answered, 
" I will yet endeavour, however our circum- 
stances seem desperate, to secure the kingdom of 
Valencia; and since the King has thought con- 
quest possible in this present case, he cannot 


complain of my motions, however rash they may 
appear. I am resolved, therefore, never to repass 
the Ebro, without positive orders from the King." 
Before his departure he wrote to Charles, to 
explain himself fully upon this subject. 

From the tone of the letter it would appear 
that Peterborough did not contemplate surviving 
this extraordinary expedition. It is graver, 
firmer, and, although respectful, full of stronger 
remonstrances and more homely advice than 
often reaches kings. 

" I have had little share in your councils. If our 
advice had been approved ; if your Majesty had trusted 
us ; * * * if your Majesty had permitted me to have 
marched into the kingdom of Valencia, when I so 
earnestly desired it, without making me stay under 
pretence of the march of imaginary troops ; if your 
Majesty would have believed me upon that occasion, 
your Majesty, probably, would have had at this time 
not only a viceroy of Valencia, but the kingdom. 

" With what I have, I march straight to Valencia. 
I can take no other measures, leaving the rest to 
Providence. * * * If the time lost (so much against 
my inclination) exposes me to a sacrifice, at least I 


will perish with honour, and as a man deserving a 
better fate. 


" Alcala, 27th January, 1706." 

Lord Peterborough now again sent orders to 
1000 Spanish foot and 300 horse, which had 
before been nominally placed at his disposal, to 
follow him into Valencia, and at the same time 
he gave commands to Colonel Wills, to march 
immediately with a like number of English horse 
and foot to his assistance, in the not improbable 
case of the Spaniards again failing him. This 
resolution had the desired effect, and at length 
orders from the King, that were not to be evaded, 
were sent to the Spaniards to follow the English 

Colonel Wills wrote in answer the account of 
an important action which had taken place at 
San Esteban de Litera, on the 26th and the 27th 
of January, between General Conyngham, with 
a brigade of the allies, and the Chevalier 
d'Asfeldt, in which, after a bloody contest, the 
French were driven from the field with a heavy 

VOL. I. Q 


loss of killed, wounded, and prisoners : on the 
side of the allies there was also considerable loss, 
and General Conyngham received a mortal wound. 
The command had then devolved upon Colonel 



AND now Peterborough commenced perhaps the 
most extraordinary campaign that has ever oc- 
curred between enemies of equal civilisation. It 
was a war of a general with a small escort, but 
literally without an army, against able officers, 
thousands of disciplined troops, numerous de- 
fensible towns and positions ; against incredible 
difficulties of country ; against want in every 
shape, and, above all, against hope itself. 

The biographer almost hesitates to request an 
audience for such a tale, but in contemporary 
writers, of all parties and all languages, is found 
full agreement in the main upon these astonishing 
facts. One hardly knows which most to admire, 
the preternatural vigour of Peterborough's mind or 
body, his wonderful audacity, or his wonderful 
endurance. Stubborn in his purpose, but fanciful 
and capricious beyond all parallel in the means 
Q 2 


for its accomplishment, the gravest ends were 
gained by the most ludicrous means. He inspired 
the handful of men who shared his fortunes with 
an implicit confidence, while he left them in total 
ignorance of his designs; if indeed he had designs, 
for his actions often appeared to have been sug- 
gested by the events of the moment, and the 
means for their execution were often evidently 
determined by a fantastic impulse. 

It may easily be conceived that a party headed 
by such a leader had little repose. No sooner had 
the infantry marched for Vinaroz, than Peter- 
borough started with his 150 dragoons in full 
pursuit of Las Torres' army of nearly 7000 men. 
He pushed on night and day, alarming the re- 
treating Spaniards now here, now there, multiply- 
ing his apparent numbers by every kind of 
fanciful artifice, cutting off all stragglers and 
handing them over to the friendly peasantry, 
worrying Las Torres by cunningly contrived and 
mendacious intelligence. He was then in his 
glory; he enjoyed with keen relish the excite- 
ment of this unparalleled adventure, while his 


sense of wit and ridicule was gratified beyond 
measure in the suggestion and success of every 
ludicrous expedient. His zeal was increased, if 
indeed that were possible, by the information 
that a hostile force of 3500 horse and foot had 
gained possession of Murviedro, and threatened the 
loyal city of Valencia. 

Peterborough first pounced upon and destroyed 
a detachment of the enemy at Alcala. This 
hastened Las Torres' retreat ; he pushed through 
the town of Borriol, leaving Castillon de la Plana 
to his left, and hastened on to Villa Real, which 
was strongly favourable to the Austrian cause. 
There he made a horrible massacre, in spite of a 
solemn promise of protection. The greatest ex- 
cesses were committed by his troops, and few of 
the inhabitants escaped his assassin sword. 

Again alarmed he hurried on from the scene of 
his atrocity to Nules, where the inhabitants were 
well affected, and to the number of nearly a thou- 
sand took arms to defend the town against 
Peterborough and his astonishing dragoons. Las 
Torres, however, continued his flight. Nules was 
o 3 


fortified by strong walls flanked with towers, and 
was in the best possible state of repair. These 
obstacles, that would have been formidable to a 
considerable force, but lightly taxed the eccentric 
general's ingenuity. Had those stout walls and 
strong gates been deserted, the dragoons would 
have perhaps found it impossible to get in, but, as 
the sarcastic Frenchman said at Malta, it was 
fortunate there was an enemy within to open the 

When Peterborough came to the scene of the 
massacre of Villa Real, an idea at once struck him 
that he might turn it to good account, by excit- 
ing the fears of the people of Nules as to a 
similar fate. He galloped up to the gates of 
the town at the head of his dragoons, hardly 
noticing a fire of musquetry which was poured 
upon him from the walls, happily however with- 
out effect, and in an imperious tone demanded a 
parley. This incredible boldness so much sur- 
prised the armed citizens, that they ceased their 
fire, and sent for their priests and magistrates 
according to his orders. They soon came, and 


opened converse with him over the wall. He left 
them but six minutes for deliberation, threaten- 
ing them with utter destruction in retaliation for 
Las Torres' massacre at Villa Real if they offered 
the slightest resistance, ancj vowed that the 
moment his artillery and engineers arrived he 
would blow down their walls. The terror- 
stricken priests bore back this melancholy mes- 
sage to the town council ; the gates were im- 
mediately opened, and the man of terrible threats 
marched in with his weary dragoons. 

While the travel-stained conquerors were 
enjoying an unwonted repose at Nules, Peter- 
borough spread wide the alarm by ordering in 
provisions and forage from all directions, to 
prepare for the large army which he stated was 
following close at his heels. This was unhesi- 
tatingly believed, as it passed all credulity that 
he could have ventured into that hostile district 
without such a support: his requisitions were, 
therefore, complied with. So completely suc- 
cessful was this deception, that Las Torres did 
not consider himself safe at Almenara, but con- 

Q 4 


tinued his disgraceful retreat, followed by the 
curses of the few surviving inhabitants. 

At Nules Peterborough found 200 horses, a 
most reasonable supply. Of course he immediately 
appropriated them, and, for a time leaving the 
flying enemy to their fears, he turned aside to 
Castillon de la Plana, a town of consideration, 
but open, undefended, and well-affected to the 
Austrian cause. There he secured 400 additional 
horses; at the same time assuring both friends 
and foes that his army was driving the enemy 
out of the kingdom, which indeed was perfectly 
true. " The despatch, the persuasion, the arts 
used upon this occasion," says a quaintly grave 
chronicler, " are not to be conceived ; the whole 
had at that very time a romantic air, though every 
particular was before adjusted and prepared by 
his lordship." 

The manner in which he applied these horses 
to use was highly characteristic of this eminent 
actor. He ordered Lord Barrymore's regiment 
of British infantry, then commanded by Colonel 
Pierce, to march from Vinaroz, where they had 


been sent with the remaining foot from San 
Matteo to Oropesa. This town was about nine 
miles from Castillon, which Peterborough had 
made the depot of his riderless horses, and stood 
upon a hill with a large plain below, and was 
exactly suited to his whimsical purpose. On 
this plain he reviewed the soldiers, and com- 
plimented them highly upon their past achieve- 
ments: he concluded his address by expressing 
his wish that they had but horses and accoutre- 
ments, to try whether a corps of so high a 
character would maintain their reputation in 
the novelty of mounted service. The foot-sore 
and almost shoeless soldiers, still aching from 
their weary march over the mountains, of course 
imagined that their eccentric general only jested 
with their necessities, and were amused or angered 
according to their individual dispositions, when, 
to their extreme surprise, Lord Peterborough's 
secretary came gravely forward, and presented 
the officers with commissions for cavalry service. 
They then at last believed him in earnest, and 
their agreeable surprise was complete when he 


marched them to the brow of the hill, and they 
saw eight bodies of horses drawn up in order, 
ready for their eight companies. Among these 
were set apart three good chargers for each 
captain, two for lieutenants, and one for cornets. 
To the brevet field officers he allowed choice of 
troops; the captains drew lots for the remainder. 
As soon as these arrangements were completed, 
he ordered the regiment to mount, and, all parties 
having been highly gratified and amused, the 
uncouth dragoons were marched into the town. 

But these ludicrous oddities never interfered 
with Peterborough's unceasing care and foresight. 
While he had been marching, deceiving, and con- 
quering, without rest either by day or night, he 
had, at the same time, with prudent forethought, 
been collecting the necessary accoutrements for 
these men, and for the dismounted British and 
Spanish dragoons. He had caused them to 
be shipped in vessels from Barcelona to the 
nearest port on the sea-coast, and, by constantly 
urging the carriers of the country, had collected 


them all at his depot during the nine days of his 
pursuit of Las Torres. 

The little band of horse which had followed 
his course of eccentric conquest, was now increased 
to nearly 1000 men. He soon dispersed them in 
the well-affected towns of the neighbourhood, the 
walls of which would render them safe from the 
attack of an enemy unsupported by artillery. 
He kept them, however, constantly moving from 
place to place, partly to accustom them to their 
new duties, and partly to confuse the enemy as 
to their numbers. He then wrote to Valencia 
promising to hasten to their relief, and left orders 
to his secretary to continue a correspondence with 
that city, so as to delude both friends and foes 
into the belief of his being still at Castillon. He, 
however, took post secretly, and hurried away 
back again to Tortosa, to look after reinforcements. 

Peterborough still mistrusted the King's ar- 
rangements as to the Spanish troops that were 
to be placed at his disposal for the Valencian 
campaign. In case of their failing, he resolved 
to post himself to Colonel Wills and carry off 


that officer with his brigade. He had not, 
however, proceeded further than Vinaroz when 
he found that the Spanish troops had already 
made a day's march into Valencia, and that some 
of the militia of that province and of Catalonia 
also were in motion to join him. 

Peterborough now concentrated his little force 
at Castillon. It consisted of ten squadrons of 
horse, including his newly mounted infantry, one 
English and three Spanish battalions of regulars, 
not quite 3000 men, and a motley force of about 
an equal number of armed peasants, whom he 
thought better to keep at a little distance, at 
Almenara, which town the enemy had now 

On the other hand, the Court of Madrid had 
placed nearly 10,000 men under the orders of 
the Duke de los Arcos for the conquest of 
Valencia, the Conde de las Torres having been 
superseded in the chief command after his failures 
at San Matteo. Part of this force were the 
3500 men who have already been mentioned 
as in possession of Murviedro. The Duke, with 


the remainder of his army, marched upon Va- 
lencia and opened siege. The magistrates of that 
city, expecting little mercy should they be over- 
come, made vigorous preparations for defence, 
and despatched repeated appeals to Lord Peter- 
borough for aid in their extremity. He willingly 
responded. On the 1st of February he marched 
from Castillon with a thorough determination, in 
which all his troops shared, that the loyal and 
beautiful city should be relieved. 

The wonderful successes of the past month had 
inspired the troops with a confidence which more 
than made amends for their inferiority of numbers. 
Had not their chivalrous leader with two weak 
squadrons of dragoons pursued thousands of horse 
and foot? Had not the terror of his name swept 
open the massive gates of fortified towns, and, as if 
by an enchanter's power, produced horses, forage, 
provisions, in abundance, where a powerful enemy 
had been in want of every thing? and yet these 
deeds were scarcely credible even to his own 
soldiers : when he had ridden off with his escort 
from the British battalions, who were sent to 


Vinaroz, they had heard no more of him till, 
covered with dust, and stained with travel, he 
rode in among them, again to order them into 
motion for new achievements, and then only did 
they learn from the lips of his wonder-stricken 
attendants how startling had been the events of 
the interval. 

The first object of attack was Murviedro, the 
ancient Saguntum. Brigadier Mahoni, or rather 
Mahony, the name being Irish, held the post : his 
regular force, cavalry principally, was about 500 
in number, a formidable force at such a spot, for 
a wide plain extended for two leagues below the 
town. The place was walled; it was tolerably 
strong in itself, with a large population, and a 
battalion of 800 trained infantry among its de- 
fenders. Between the town and the plain was a 
river, on the banks of which works were thrown 
up, mounted with artillery. Here the Valencian 
road wound through a pass ; above, on the crest 
of a lofty overhanging hill, were the ruins of his- 
toric memory. 

Peterborough had no artillery but a few in- 


sufficient Spanish field guns. The enemy's 
position both by nature and art was formidable ; 
his force was altogether inadequate to carry it. 
His officers did not hesitate to express their 
opinion of the imprudence of an attack ; he, 
however, did not enter into any particulars of his 
plans, but simply directed them to await events. 
His view was, as usual, if possible, to deceive both 
friends and foes ; and having selected a few discreet 
officers and dragoons, and some peasants whose 
fidelity was secured by hostage, he continued to 
disperse them about the country, and spread false 
intelligence in such a manner as completely to 
confuse every body. 

Among many, some most singular instances of 
his mendacious ingenuity were exercised upon the 
division of Las Torres before it reached the main 
body under the Duke de los Arcos. A spy in 
Peterborough's pay informed the Spanish chief 
that the British were close upon him ; he de- 
camped at once in consequence, and marched all 
night. In the morning his tormentor again 
stated that the Maldito Ingles was pushing on 


over the mountains to his left, to occupy an 
important pass, and cut off his retreat to the 
Valencian plains. The credulity of Las Torres 
was not strong enough for this. The spy, indig- 
nant at his truth being doubted, pledged himself, 
on the hazard of his life, to give proof of his 
assertion to any officers who might be sent to 
ascertain it. Two officers, out of uniform, were 
accordingly sent with him in the direction in- 
dicated ; but when they stopped for refreshment 
at a village on the way, they were seized by a 
picquet of English dragoons which had been 
placed there to complete the plot. After a time 
the spy pretended to the Spaniards that he had 
made the guard drunk, and that they might 
escape ; at the same time showing them two of 
the dragoons, who appeared as if they had played 
this part to perfection, lying on the stable floor. 
The officers stealthily led three of the horses, ready 
saddled and accoutred, out of the stable, and 
succeeded in making their escape. This incident 
of course established the credit of the spy, while 
at the time in question the British army was 


really many miles away under the ruins of 
Saguntum. Again, dragoons were induced to 
feign desertion by Peterborough; others per- 
mitted themselves to be taken prisoners, each 
trying to exceed the other in the extravagance of 
his false information, until Las Torres, Mahony, 
and the Duke de los Arcos himself were utterly 
bewildered in the labyrinth of lies. 

However doubtful even the military morality 
of these contrivances may be, the means that 
Peterborough took for the acquisition of Mur- 
viedro were altogether inexcusable, and indeed 
would have been incomprehensible of any other 
man (usually of honour) but himself. There was, 
however, a sort of malignant fun in the trick that 
suggested itself, the temptation of which he could 
not resist, and accordingly he determined to 
overreach his opponent by the following stratagem. 
He sent to demand an interview with Mahony, 
who chanced to be a relation of Lady Peter- 
borough, and named a small hill near the town 
for the purpose; at the same time he prepared 
his scanty force so as to make the greatest possible 

VOL. I. R 


show. Some were posted as near the town as 
they might venture to advance along the pass, 
others were kept marching on the forward slopes 
of the hills, their numbers expanded, in appear- 
ance, by intermingled masses of the armed 
peasantry. The few field pieces were also 
arranged in a prominent position, and in short 
every thing was set "in a sort of perspective 
to the place of the interview." 

The scene being thus prepared, Lord Peter- 
borough sent an officer with a trumpeter to 
Mahony to let him know that the blame must 
rest on him if the town were to be exposed 
to unnecessary destruction, it being the interest 
of both sides to prevent such a calamity, as 
both parties might possibly find the shelter of its 
walls convenient at some future time ; also, that 
an interview would be of great mutual advantage, 
and that especially he should wish to have this 
conference with his distinguished compatriot and 
connection Mahony. He added that he was 
ready to arrange the conference for any particular 
place near the town that might be named, and 


that he himself would come escorted by only ten 

Mahony sent back an officer to say that he 
would immediately come to the Earl of Peter- 
borough, upon parole, for security; being de- 
sirous to show him every respect, and to concert 
measures with him, to prevent any disorders 
beyond those that were rendered inevitable. He 
soon followed himself, with several other principal 
Spanish officers, to the place that Peterborough 
had arranged. 

They met with many mutual compliments: 
Peterborough urged every persuasion to induce 
Mahony to enter the service of King Charles, 
making him the most extravagant promises of 
advancement in case of compliance. Mahony 
was inflexible. The wily Englishman then 
changed his tone, and assuming an air of kins- 
manlike frankness said, " The Spaniards have 
used such severities and cruelties at Villa Real as 
will oblige me to retaliate. I am willing to spare 
a town that is under your protection; I know 
you cannot pretend to defend it with the horse 

R 2 


you have, which will be so much more useful in 
another place, if joined with the Duke de los 
Arcos., to obstruct my passing the plains of 
Valencia. I am confident you will soon quit 
Murviedro, which I can as little, for myself, 
prevent, as you can hinder me from taking the 
town. The inhabitants, then, must be exposed 
to the utmost miseries, and I can nowise preserve 
it but by being tied by a capitulation, which I 
am willing to give you, if I had the pretence of 
the immediate surrender of the place this very 
night. Some cases are so apparent, that I need 
not dissemble : I know you will immediately send 
to the Duke de los Arcos, to march to the Car- 
thusian convent, and meet him there, with the 
body of horse under your command." He further 
offered, in the same apparent spirit of frankness, 
to show Mahony all his troops and artillery, as 
well as the large resources he had upon the sea 
(which was only six miles off). 

Mahony, emulating the apparent openness of 
his kinsman, acknowledged that his view was to 
fall back with his cavalry upon Los Arcos, and 


laughingly said, " You are aware of my plan, but 
you cannot prevent it." The interview ended by 
his agreeing to go back to the town for half an 
hour, and then to declare his intentions. In the 
appointed time he honestly sent his capitulation 
by a Spanish officer. Peterborough received the 
surrender with concealed joy, and determined to 
make the utmost possible mischief out of his 
opportunity. He gave the Spanish officer a 
garbled account of his interview with Mahony, 
endeavoured to bribe him also, by promises, to the 
Austrian cause, and more than insinuated that he 
had succeeded with Mahony. The temptation 
to desert failed with the Spaniard, as he had 
expected; but he had inspired a jealousy of 
Mahony to the full extent that he desired. 

In fact Mahony had conducted the negotiation 
in a manner worthy of a loyal and skilful officer. 
He stipulated not to leave the town till one 
o'clock in the morning, and that the Earl of 
Peterborough was not to pass the river till that 
hour. This was arranged with the view of 
allowing the Duke de los Arcos time to reach the 


plains, where he was to be joined by the horse 
from Murviedro. But Peterborough's machina- 
tions had been only too effectual; the Spanish 
officer, on his return, persuaded his countrymen 
that Mahony had betrayed them ; the troops and 
populace became much enraged against the un- 
fortunate Irishman, and even threatened his life. 
Nothing, probably, could have perverted Peter- 
borough to a direct breach of faith, nor would he 
on any account have passed the river till the time 
appointed, when the enemy, by their agreement, 
should withdraw their dragoons, which defended 
the entrenchments of the other side. But he, 
having heard the neighing of horses during the 
night, took it for granted that some of the troops 
had evacuated the town, and anticipated that, if 
the noise of firing were heard, it might create 
suspicion and confusion among the enemy, lead 
them to suppose that they were attacked, and 
confirm the probably existing suspicion of 
Mahony's treason. He, therefore, ordered a 
body of men up the river to fire straggling shots, 
as if small parties of each army were engaged. 


Mahony, hearing these sounds, sent word to 
Lord Peterborough, that whatever mistake or 
collision might have occurred, he himself depended 
implicitly upon the honour of an English general, 
and could never believe that any foul play could 
take place. Peterborough sent back his compli- 
ments, by the officer who had borne the message, 
with expressions of gratification at the good 
understanding which prevailed between them. 
He at the same time proposed that Mahony, for 
the security of the inhabitants of Murviedro, and 
to prevent molestation in retiring from the town, 
should permit a regiment of English dragoons to 
cross the river, and form a guard at the gates, 
offering, at the same time, to deliver up a number 
of the officers as hostages to the Spaniards, in 
security, for the loyal fulfilment of the terms. 
In an evil hour for himself, Mahony consented. 

When Peterborough's dragoons were permitted 
to clear the difficult pass and approach scathelessly 
to the very gates of the town, the suspicions of the 
Spanish officers as to their unfortunate leader's 
treachery, became certainty. Each one hurried 

a 4 


his own particular detachment out of Murviedro 
as fast as he could; they made their way in 
separate divisions to the camp of Los Arcos, where 
they spread a vague but general panic. They 
openly accused their brigadier of treachery to the 
Spanish general, and found ready credence from 
the national jealousy against the foreigner. 

In the meantime Peterborough had woven the 
last mesh of this diabolical network of deceit. 
He made choice of two intelligent Irish dragoons 
of Zinzendorf 's guards, and persuaded them, by 
bribes and promises of promotion, to undertake 
the dangerous part of false deserters. When 
thoroughly instructed in their mendacious role, 
they were sent forth from a remote part of the 
camp, and straightway they delivered themselves 
up to the Spanish outposts. These spies were 
soon carried before Los Arcos, who questioned 
them closely for information. They gained 
anxious attention by an invented account of the 
interview between Peterborough and Mahony. 
Their statement was, that they had been drinking 
a glass of wine under the rocks of the hill, close 


to where the conference was held, and that they 
saw the Earl deliver 5000 pistoles to Mahony, 
promising him also to make him a major-general 
upon the English establishment, and to give him 
the command of 10,000 Irish Catholics, which 
were being raised for the service of King Charles. 
They added that they were content to receive no 
reward, and to submit to condign punishment, if 
Mahony did not himself speedily give proof of 
his treachery, by requesting the Duke to march 
his army that night over the plain towards 
Murviedro, to the Carthusian convent ; and that 
every thing was arranged by the traitor for their 
destruction, in case of his compliance, by an 
ambush of the British troops. 

While the spies were almost yet speaking, an 
aide-de-camp galloped in from Mahony with 
the very proposition which they had described. 
No doubt now appeared to remain of the treason. 
Instead of complying with Mahony's request, 
which was obviously the wisest course, and the 
course which Peterborough had been at all these 
pains to prevent, Los Arcos broke up his camp 


without delay, and fell back in a totally opposite 
direction. Mahony, with his cavalry, having 
delivered over the town, marched to the Carthu- 
sian convent, and there vainly awaited their 
comrades: after a time finding themselves un- 
supported, and pressed by the English horse, 
they followed the route of the main army. The 
brigadier, on coming up with the main body, was 
instantly arrested by his chief, and sent a prisoner 
to Madrid. There, however, he managed to 
clear his reputation, was promoted to the rank 
of major-general, and was sent back with Las 
Torres, who had now been ordered to supersede 
Los Arcos. 

The next day after his ill-gotten success, 
Peterborough entered the city of Valencia in 
triumph. The people received him with extra- 
vagant demonstrations of joy, as their deliverer 
from dire extremity. The citizens turned out 
armed, to receive him with due honour, and even 
large numbers of priests and friars were regi- 
mented for the occasion. This latter body he 
treated with profound attention and respect, it 


being his politic custom " to return the highest 
civilities to, and improve his interest with, the 
Church." Never was any mortal more caressed 
than was this successful chief by the Valencian 
people : they even offered to supply a large sum 
of money for the equipment of his army, and to 
raise additional troops. A yet more acceptable 
homage was offered to his victorious name, in the 
smiles of the dark-eyed beauties of that sunny 
province. He appears to have accepted every 
thing proffered to him, both for the assistance of 
his troops, and for the gratification of his own 
self-love ; while at the same time he secretly 
despised all his adulators alike, whether solemn 
priests, or pompous dons, or complaisant senoras. 
In a very amusing letter to Lord Halifax, he 
gives a sketch of his position ; he gives rein to 
his pungent satire, and exercises his malignant 
sense of the ridiculous upon his good friends at 
Valencia, in terms more to be admired for vivacity 
than for delicacy. 

The King was now so sensible of the extra- 
ordinary abilities and great services of the English 


chief, that he appointed him captain-general of 
his forces, by which commission all other foreign 
and Spanish officers were placed under his 
command ; he added, also, the power of appointing 
and removing all governors, or other public 
servants, as he might see fit for the good of the 
cause. About the same time a dispatch reached 
Peterborough from Queen Anne, with the ap- 
pointment of Plenipotentiary from the Court of 
London to the Catholic King. 

As will presently appear, the Earl did not 
relax for a moment in the activity of his measures 
against the enemy. It is true that he gave him- 
self up without restraint to the enjoyments of the 
beautiful city : of which the Spanish proverb says, 
" the pleasures of Valencia would make a Jew 
forget Jerusalem." The town stands in a luxu- 
riant plain, covered with vines and olives, and 
rich in "all the fragrancies of nature." The 
neighbourhood was adorned by ruins of the 
wonderful architecture of that romantic people 
whose retiring flood of invasion had enriched 
the land with countless relics of grace and glory. 


Within a mile and a half of the walls lay the 
waters of the Mediterranean ; in the distant 
background the snowy peaks of the Sierras con- 
trasted with the almost tropical luxuriance of the 
plains. The southern sun, while it swarthed the 
cheeks, lent a kindred fire to the temper of the 
people, and quickened into fierce activity their 
fervid Moorish pulse. The romantic adventures 
in which, from the general downwards, the 
English were constantly engaged, led at times 
to deadly quarrels, and many a fair-haired Saxon 
fell under the assassin's knife. The Valencians 
have at all times been infamous for their revengeful 
and murderous dispositions, from which the gallant 
services of the foreigners afforded no protection. 

Even in Catholic Spain Valencia stood promi- 
nent in its devotion to the Romish Church. 
Here was the birthplace of San Vicente, here 
the spot where San Domingo received the educa- 
tion that qualified him to be the founder of his 
stern order. Countless superstitions of these 
saints were treasured as holy truths by the 
Valencian people. There was the very centre of 


the awful mysteries of the Inquisition. There, 
in magnificent monasteries, with beautiful courts 
and gardens, crowds of monks and priests lived 
in unsaintly luxury. There the religious pro- 
cessions and ceremonies surpassed all elsewhere in 
splendour. Nowhere were the forms of devotion 
more rigidly and generally observed, and nowhere 
was profligacy more universal, or blood more 
lightly shed, 

In these contrasts Peterborough secretly 
gloried : in the rank developments of super- 
stition he claimed an argument for his own dark 
negation of all creeds. Through the villany of 
hypocritical devotees he saw almost a merit in 
his own audacious scoffings. Although in public 
he treated church and people with politic respect, 
among his friends he never mentioned one or the 
other but with contempt. 

While he joined in the general rejoicing, he 
was fully alive to the dangers of his situation. 
He had little to rely upon but the prestige of his 
late successes. His force in the town was hardly 
more than 3000 men ; artillery, ammunition, pro- 


visions, stores of all kinds, were deficient, and 
there were none within reach. When his need 
was greatest, the joyful intelligence was brought 
to him that sixteen brass 24 pounder-guns with a 
quantity of ammunition and stores had just been 
shipped on board a Genoese vessel, to arm the 
force of Las Torres for the siege of Valencia. 
This was an opportunity after his own heart ; to 
turn the guns meant for his destruction into his 
defence was his instant determination. The 
design was, however, most difficult of execution ; 
it might perhaps have appeared impossible to any 
one else. 

From the hills near the town Las Torres 
threatened Peterborough with nearly 7000 men, 
4000 Castilians were hastening to their support 
by the way of Fuente de la Higuera; while at 
Madrid, within an easy distance, lay the over- 
whelming forces of the main army under Marshal 
Tesse. At first the Court of Philip designed to 
throw the Marshal with his whole weight upon 
Valencia, and crush at once the feeble British 
force, but in an evil hour for them they after- 


wards directed him instead upon the disastrous 
expedition against Barcelona. 

Peterborough's first step was to send a detach- 
ment with all secresy and dispatch to intercept 
the convoy of guns and stores which had just 
now been landed. This required no little address 
in the face of an enemy vastly superior in all 
arms, but especially in cavalry. His skill and 
good fortune did not forsake him, and in a short 
time his detachment returned bringing with them 
every gun, and all the supplies which were in- 
tended for Las Torres. 

The next achievement was even more dan- 
gerous and difficult. Well aware that he could 
not hope to resist the combined strength of the 
Castilians and Las Torres, should they succeed 
in forming a junction, he resolved to attempt a 
surprise against the former while on the march. 
Now the army of Las Torres lay between Peter- 
borough and his victims, occupying the main 
road ; and the advancing reinforcements marched 
in full confidence of security. They had not yet 
learned to estimate the prowess of their enemy. 


He detached 800 foot and 400 horse suddenly by 
night, with orders to pass the river Xucar in 
silence, and if possible unobserved, at a ford 
which was but a little distance below the camp of 
Las Torres. Thence they were to hasten on 
with all speed, and to fall upon the Castilians, 
whom they would probably find quite unprepared. 

All occurred as Peterborough designed. The 
British passed the ford in safety, surprised the 
advancing forces at Fuente de la Higuera, and 
utterly routed them. They then returned with 
the same caution and success with which they had 
advanced, and, although encumbered with 600 
prisoners, reached the town without having been 
observed by the enemy. The Valencians could 
hardly have been persuaded of the accomplish- 
ment of this action, had not the captive Castilians 
been unmistakeable witnesses of it. 

Las Torres despaired of success against Val- 
encia, or rather against Peterborough, after these 
two grievous misadventures : he next turned his 
thoughts towards the small towns of Sueca and 
Alcira on the river Xucar: below them, and 

VOL. i. s 


commanded by their guns, was the important bridge 
of Cullera, distant about fifteen miles from the 
Spanish camp. By this pass, far the largest 
portion of the supplies for the besieged was 
brought in from the country ; Las Torres, there- 
fore, desired to seize the point. 

Early intelligence of every thing that passed in 
the enemy's camp was always brought to Peter- 
borough by his army of spies, and by his " main- 
taining such a good correspondence with the 
priests and with the ladies." These movements 
upon Cullera were known to him as soon as they 
had been determined by Las Torres. In this 
case it required all his activity to anticipate 
the usually dilatory Spaniards. 500 English, 
600 Spanish foot, and 400 horse were ordered off 
forthwith to Sueca and Alcira, and with all his 
promptitude he only succeeded in occupying the 
latter town half an hour before the troops of Las 
Torres reached the gates. Being thus anticipated, 
they returned to the camp without delay. 

Peterborough was not contented with baffling 
the enemy in their design against him, but re- 


solved to attack in his turn. He discovered that 
their army was divided for the convenience of 
quarters, one portion being cantoned in a village 
only about two miles from Alcira, the other in the 
camp near Valencia. He laid a plan with his 
usual skill and secresy, to surprise the further of 
these divisions, and for that purpose marched 
himself in the night with an English force of 
about 1000 men. He directed his course upon 
the village by a somewhat circuitous route: 
nevertheless he contrived to get there at break 
of day, exactly at the time he had arranged. 
Meanwhile the Spanish garrison of Alcira, also 
about 1000 strong, had orders to sally out and 
attack the village at a concerted signal from the 
opposite side. Every thing so far succeeded as he 
wished. The Spaniards also arrived punctually, 
but just as they were preparing to burst upon 
the unconscious enemy, they chanced to fall upon 
a picquet of twenty horse ; an unaccountable panic 
seized them ; they broke their ranks, and fled in 
such utter confusion, that many of the terror- 
stricken soldiers killed each other. To complete 

s 2 


the failure, the picquet had alarmed the enemy, 
who were soon arrayed in quadruple force against 
Peterborough's wearied and unsupported detach- 
ment. An attack would have been madness 
under such circumstances: he reluctantly ordered 
a retreat, which he conducted in perfect order 
and without the loss of a man. Thus happened 
his first and only failure. 

For some time after this expedition he remained 
stationary at Valencia, and with it the campaign 
may be said to have ended, a campaign which, 
in the strange stratagems that were used, and 
in the success that attended them, has perhaps 
no parallel in history. Peterborough sought no 
favours from fortune, for he never depended upon 
her. Even in his apparently wildest schemes he 
had calculated upon almost every possible contin- 
gency, and prepared against it. He never relied 
upon his Spanish allies but once, at Alcira, and 
that was the only time he met a check. He 
never entrusted to others that which he could do 
himself; and it is said of him that he scarce ever 
sent a party of thirty horse upon any action 


without going in person with them. His ex- 
traordinary physical powers stood him and his 
country in good stead, for, as to personal exer- 
tions and fatigues, it may be questioned whether 
any other general of any age or nation was ever 
capable of such as his. It is but justice, too, to 
award high praise to the gallant troops who 
proved themselves worthy of such a leader. They 
seem to have been inspired with his own im- 
petuous valour. They bore uncomplainingly the 
greatest hardships, and, whenever their leader 
did not win their battles bloodlessly by his gene- 
ralship, they fought with exemplary courage. 







New-street- Square. 











How poor, how rich, how abject, how august, 
How complicate, how wonderful is man, 
How passing wonder He who made him such !" 

YOUNG'S Night Thoughts. 









FROM the time that the news of the loss of 
Barcelona reached Madrid, to retake it became 
the cherished object of the Court. Philip of Anjou 
threw aside his weakness and irresolution under 
the pressure of danger, and prepared himself to 
head a Catalonian invasion. He wrote earnestly 
to Louis XIV. for assistance, but at the same 
time did not neglect to make vigorous exertions 
himself. His grandfather promptly replied by a 
promise of assistance, although France was at 
that time herself in extreme difficulty. The 
genius of Maryborough had already turned the 



tide of success against her on the northern fron- 
tiers, and the maritime superiority of England 
and Holland could no longer be disputed. Never- 
theless, from the frontiers of Portugal, from Italy, 
Provence, nay, even from Flanders and the 
Rhine, formidable French armies were assembled 
at Saragoza and Boussillon. At the same time 
a fleet of twelve ships of the line, under the 
Count of Thoulouse, a natural son of Louis XIV., 
sailed to blockade Barcelona, while the able Duke 
of Berwick was sent to lead the diminished 
forces of the southern army. 

The command of the French army of Catalonia, 
under Philip himself, was given to Marshal Tesse, 
although he had already displayed his incapacity 
in the same neighbourhood. He had reached 
Saragoza in January, and soon excited the sullen 
disaffection of the Arragonese into a storm of 
hatred. French regiments were opposed to the 
death in entering the towns, French officers were 
murdered in their beds, and the savage reprisals 
adopted by the Marshal, far from subduing, only 
aroused the spirit of the Spaniards. But though 


cruel to the weak he was timid before the strong ; 
he objected to the zealous activity of Philip, and 
thwarted his plans. He exaggerated the strength 
of the allies and undervalued his own. He would 
neither act himself, nor accept the suggestions of 
others. As he advanced his difficulties increased. 
When he had passed Lerida, the soinaten, or 
alarm bell, summoned the warlike Catalan pea- 
santry from all the neighbourhood to oppose his 
march. These undisciplined swarms could of 
course offer no continued resistance to the vete- 
rans of France, but they harassed the powerful 
force which they dared not attack. Every pass, 
where the ground offered an advantage, was ob- 
stinately disputed, and seldom carried without 
heavy loss. Even the desperate sacrifice of lay- 
ing waste their own country was not spared ; all 
cattle were driven away, the corn removed, and 
the wells and springs were poisoned. 

Numbers and discipline, however, at length 
prevailed over the enthusiastic but unorganised 
peasantry. On the 2d of April Tesse arrived 
before Barcelona, and there was joined by the 

B 2 


troops from Roussillon under the Duke de No- 
ailles, who had come by the way of Genoa. The 
town was then invested by land. At the same 
time the French fleet, under the Count of 
Thoulouse, now increased to thirty ships, block- 
aded the port. The besiegers encamped upon 
the north side of the town, with their right wing 
resting upon the hill under Montjuich. 

When King Charles could no longer doubt 
that the object of Tesse* was to retake Barcelona, 
he endeavoured to repair his error in having left 
the town almost defenceless. He hastily re- 
called whatever troops and guns were within 
reach, and urged on the repairs of the fortifica- 
tions which had been completely neglected since 
his entrance into the place: those of Montjuich 
especially, where the breaches were still open. 
The garrison was at this time so much distressed 
for money, which was delayed in coming from 
Italy, that the soldiers only received Is. Qd. a 
week, and the officers, in their extremity, were 
obliged to pawn part of their uniforms. 

But in this hour of need the spirit and deter- 


mination of the King made some amends for his 
former perversity. His example of zeal and activity 
inspired the inhabitants and the garrison. He ap^ 
pealed with success to the religious enthusiasm of 
the Catalans, and even called in the aid of pretended 
miracles to his cause. All the citizens took arms, 
the monks joined the ranks, and Capuchin friars 
were seen in the dress of their order, carrying the 
musket, with their long beards tied with ribands 
of Austrian colours. Even women and children 
formed themselves into companies and laboured 
at the fortifications. 

As soon as Peterborough became aware that 
Barcelona was the object for which the French were 
concentrating their power, he immediately wrote 
to the King to propose a plan of action, which, 
had it been adopted, would, probably, have decided 
the fate of Spain. He suggested that Charles 
should forthwith go by sea to Portugal, put 
himself at the head of the allied army, which was 
25,000 strong, and march straight upon Madrid. 
No more than 5000 men could be assembled to 
oppose him. He added that the utmost secresy 
j> s 


was necessary, and that it could hardly fail of 
success. " I would undertake to maintain Cata- 
lonia and Valencia, and, perhaps, to open the way 
to Madrid." But now, as before, this bold but 
really safe course was rejected by the German 
councillors, and Charles resolved to take his chance 
once more among his faithful Catalans. When 
Peterborough received Charles's answer, he un- 
hesitatingly broke up from his agreeable quarters 
at Valencia. After having provided, as sparingly 
as he dared, for the safety of his late conquests, 
he marched northwards with all the force he could 
collect. Despite all his exertions, he could not 
raise his little army above 2000 foot and 600 
horse ; but with this handful of men, he confidently 
undertook to grapple with a marshal of France 
and 20,000 men. 

His main hope was from England. After his 
capture of Barcelona, he had earnestly entreated 
Queen Anne, through Brigadier Stanhope, to 
send supplies to his army. The news of his 
success was received with great satisfaction in 
England : a considerable sum of money was voted 


by Parliament for the service of his army ; and 
the London Gazette, of the 24th of June, " did 
his lordship the honour to put him at the head of 
an army of 25,000. But however his lordship, 
contrary to his usual good fortune, happened to 
be magnified in this particular, all the forces his 
lordship could muster up in Valencia * * * were 
somewhat above 4000, and wanted of the 25,000 
little more than the odd 20." 

When Peterborough had, by forced marches, 
reached the neighbourhood of Barcelona, he took 
up a strong position in the mountains, about two 
leagues from the town. His arrival was the 
signal for constant alarms in the enemy's camp. 
He changed his position repeatedly, and baffled 
all Torres' activity in trying to catch him. A 
crowd of Miquelets, under the Conde de 
Cifuentes, proved highly useful allies; they 
brought intelligence, they harassed and cut off 
small parties of the enemy. 

At daylight, on the 3rd of April, Philip and 
Tesse planted the Bourbon standard on the north 
side of Montjuich, within musket shot of the 

B 4 


walls of that fort. About nine in the forenoon, 
a body of French infantry, supported by two 
squadrons of horse, made an attempt to carry the 
western outworks by storm. This was the 
weakest part of the citadel, and it was at that 
time only manned by 100 men of Hamilton's 
regiment. These gallant Englishmen had only 
arrived the night before, from a forced march of 
seventy milos, which they had performed on 
mules in two days. But though wearied they 
were not dispirited. The French were received 
with so determined an aspect, and so sharp a fire, 
that they hesitated, halted, broke, and fled. As 
they went off, the British threw up their caps 
and raised loud shouts, which so exasperated the 
enemy that, in spite of their first bloody repulse, 
they reformed, and again and again returned to 
the charge, but each time with the same result as 
before. This defeat was the more galling, as 
they had expected to find there only the usual 
Spanish guard of forty men, and to have had an 
easy victory. 

When this unexpected firing was heard in the 


city, the whole garrison instantly turned out, and 
marched to support Montjuich : only twelve men 
were left to guard the person of the King, that 
every available bayonet might be brought to 
bear upon this threatened point. That day, 
however, the enemy made no further attempt: 
the Miquelets were much encouraged by the 
success, and they " became so familiarly bold as 
to advance within the works and pickeer upon the 
French, as if they were shooting at woodcocks." 

Although repulsed in their first enterprize, 
the French continued actively to complete their 
investment, and when the sun rose on the 4th of 
April, a sight presented itself to Charles, which 
might well shake his confidence: from the 
north-west side of Montjuich, for nearly fifteen 
miles, with slight intervals, his rival's camp 
extended over the undulating plain, and almost 
surrounded Barcelona. During that day nothing 
of importance was attempted by either party. 
The light troops on both sides, however, joined 
in constant quarrel. Some active Miquelets 
gained a useful supply for the town by seizing 


700 of the enemy's sheep and 12 of their mules, 
and carrying them off in safety, within sight of 
their camp, to Conventa Gracia. On the 5th, 
Charles found that he had sustained a serious loss in 
the Fuerte Redonda, which had been surrendered 
by treachery during the night. This fort stood 
on the strand, somewhat to the west of Mont- 
juich, and commanded all the seashore on that 
side. The enemy immediately profited by this 
advantage, and commenced landing their provi- 
sions, guns, and ammunition. 

On the other hand, Brigadiers General Lord 
Donegal and Sentiman, with two English and 
two newly raised Catalan battalions, managed to 
elude the vigilance of the besiegers, and enter 
the town. When the enemy were informed of 
this they closed in their left wing to the east- 
ward, in the hope of guarding against the intro- 
duction of further reinforcements. But these 
precautions were vain against the indefatigable 
Peterborough. He had received notice that the 
remainder of the garrison of Gerona, who had 
evacuated that town on the approach of the 


Due de Noailles, had embarked in a number of 
small boats, and were about to attempt a landing 
near Barcelona, on the north side. He started, 
as usual, by night, from his mountain camp, and, 
after a march of nearly twenty miles, arrived 
at the place of expected debarkation to such a 
nicety of time, that he received the Gerona men 
on their landing, and escorted them past the 
enemy's outposts to the town without discovery. 
He then regained his former position without 
the loss of a man. This seasonable assistance 
raised the strength of the besieged to upwards of 
3000 men. 

At the same time an alarming treason was 
discovered at the citadel of Montjuich; one of 
the garrison had hired a boy (who afterwards 
confessed the fact) to put out all the gun matches, 
and throw the priming powder out of the match- 
locks on the night of the 6th. If he could not 
succeed in thus disabling all the firearms, he was 
to pay especial attention to those on the weakest 
face of the works, where the attack was most 
likely to be renewed. This conspiracy, together 


with the doubtful case of Fuerte Redonda, which 
had been also under his charge, led to such strong 
suspicions against the Spanish governor of Mont- 
juich, that he was superseded, and the gallant 
Earl of Donegal appointed to the command 

On the 7th the besiegers pushed on two 
entrenchments beyond the Convent of Santa 
Matrona, and occupied them in some force. 
During the day they were molested by an irregular 
but stinging fire, and at dusk they were for a 
short time driven out by a sudden rush of the 
Miquelets with the loss of their colours : after a 
time, however, they in turn beat back the sally, 
and retook their works. 

Tesse opened his batteries of mortars on the 
8th upon Montjuich within musket shot. Done- 
gal determined to resist this lodgment. In the 
afternoon he collected a number of Miquelets, 
and supporting them with 200 English, drove the 
enemy from their works ; they fell back however 
upon some houses and loopholed ruins, there 
holding their ground till a overwhelming force 


came to their relief. They then advanced and 
retook their batteries. The three following days 
and nights the firing was continued on both sides, 
the enemy progressing but slowly against a gal- 
lant defence. The British resorted to the plan 
of sending showers of stones from their mortars 
upon the men working in the trenches, which 
they found more effective than iron shot and 
shells, especially in the dark. 

On the 12th, 13th, and 14th, four new bat- 
teries were thrown up by the French, and every 
face of the citadel was under fire. The besieged 
could hardly stand to their guns under this supe- 
riority of metal, and their loss was severe. The 
Miquelets, too, now partly withdrew from the 
dangerous strife ; but they were not idle, they 
only sought a more congenial service. By night 
they crept into the French camp, murdered and 
stripped officers in their tents, carried off horses, 
and slew solitary sentries, invariably either es- 
caping undiscovered or eluding pursuit. In spite 
of the vigilance of the French fleet, on the 14th, 
a barque got safely into Mataro, a small port a 


few miles to the north-east of Barcelona, bearing 
letters of importance to the King from England 
by the way of Genoa, but no material aid. 

At eight the following evening the besiegers 
made a furious attack on the western outwork of 
Montjuich, having ascertained that it was only 
defended by a part of a newly raised Spanish 
regiment : they carried all before them for a 
moment, the Spaniards flying at the first onset. 
But on the inner ramparts they were met by 
Donegal and his grenadiers : there an obstinate 
contest was carried on for two hours, the stub- 
born Englishmen not yielding a foot of ground. 
In the heat of the strife the defenders repeatedly 
threw back the enemy's grenades with their hands 
before they had time to explode, the general him- 
self showing the perilous example. In spite of 
the bravest efforts, however, the French retained 
possession of the outwork which the Spaniards 
had abandoned to them, and subsequently formed 
entrenchments and a battery upon it. 

Lord Donegal still held out gallantly: his 
little force was much reduced in numbers, and so 


worn out by constant exertion, that men fre- 
quently fell asleep while under arms, in the heat 
of the fire. The besiegers now partly directed 
their attention towards the city : several bomb- 
ketches moved in as close as they could venture, 
and threw shells, while some of the batteries 
poured red-hot shot into the town. This spread 
a general alarm : the people could hardly be 
induced to continue working on the defences, and 
many removed themselves with their most pre- 
cious goods into the shelter of the churches. 
Ammunition and even confidence began to fail, 
when, at two in the morning of the 21st, a half 
galley ran safely into the harbour, bearing a 
supply of powder and encouraging messages 
from Lord Peterborough. Three days after- 
wards he realised a share of the hopes he had 
then excited, by throwing some Neapolitans into 
the town. He embarked a body of these men 
in small boats at Mataro, and sent them along 
the shore to pass the enemy's fleet if possible 
unobserved. They found, however, that a line 
of boats had been drawn across the harbour to 


blockade the entrance. Nothing daunted they 
attacked the boats, and after a sharp action with 
small arms for more than an hour, 400 men suc- 
ceeded in forcing their way through, and the rest 
returned to Mataro in safety. 

Meanwhile Peterborough formed the daring 
design of a general attack with his handful of 
men upon the French army. Such temerity 
would have been madness without the assistance 
of the besieged, and by this time the enemy's 
lines were so close about the city, that the com- 
munication necessary to persuade Charles to join 
in a combined attack, and to arrange its plan, was 
highly difficult. Peterborough dispatched an aide- 
de-camp with this object, who succeeded in getting 
into the town, and obtaining promise of support 
from the King, arranging the attack for the 22nd. 
The messenger, however, with his papers, fell 
into Tesse's hands on his return, and being thus 
warned, the whole of the besieging army was 
held in readiness on that day. At the hour 
appointed Peterborough marshalled his force on 
the hills for the attack, and the besieged were 


all in arms on the ramparts ; but seeing that the 
enemy was fully prepared, the rash project was 
abandoned, and the troops returned to their 

At length Montjuich was lost. The enemy 
had prepared a large force for the attack, in pro- 
found secrecy, close at hand, and the firing of a 
salvo of four mortars was to be the signal to 
advance. About midday on the 22nd the signal 
was given ; the French rushed on with loud 
shouts, and succeeded in a complete surprise. 
Many of the English officers were absent, and 
the few who were on the spot had hardly time to 
get their men under arms, before Velasco's and 
the western bastion were lost. The defenders 
then fell back upon the castle or keep, and there 
held their ground. Meanwhile the English 
officers came running to their posts at the noise 
of the firing, and seeing some foreign troops 
drawn up in the works, joined them, concluding 
they were Dutch. They were all immediately 
taken prisoners. The men who had defended 
the castle, not aware of what had become of their 



officers, were at a loss for orders, and soon fell 
into such confusion that, had the enemy then 
pushed his advantage, he might probably have 
met with little opposition. 

The next morning a feeble effort was made by 
the people of Barcelona, headed by priests, and 
bearing with them the sacred banner of the 
church, to relieve the castle of Montjuich; it was, 
however, easily repelled. The little garrison 
sallied out to assist the movement; but on the 
retreat of the relief, they had to fight their way 
back with great difficulty, and the brave Lord 
Donegal with several of his officers was killed. 
The remnant of the British troops then abandoned 
the position they had so resolutely defended, 
making their way safely to the city, and the 
French took possession of it. 

This important success encouraged Tesse to 
proceed with vigour. He pushed batteries of heavy 
guns close to the walls, which soon destroyed the 
labours of the garrison. So close were they, that 
neither gun nor musket could be brought to bear 
against them. He designed to make three prac- 


ticable breaches, the principal of which was to be 
close to Port Antonio, and to crush the outer 
walls ; but the besieged in the mean time had 
erected inner defences, which would still have 
proved formidable even when the breach might 
have been carried. Tesse continued an extreme 
caution, and deferred the intended assault from day 
to day. A bolder leader than he might well have 
hesitated to deliver a doubtful attack in front, while 
such a man as Peterborough hung upon his rear : 
the delay proved of the last importance. 

This state of things excited great alarm in 
Barcelona, and Charles repeatedly sent urgent 
entreaties to Peterborough to come to his relief 
at all hazards. But Peterborough had calculated 
the chances of the step ; he had seen a similar 
attempt fail once before, and although none could 
exceed him in daring, few could, at the same 
time, equal him in prudence. He saw that the 
safety of the city, and perhaps the fate of the 
war depended upon his making head against and 
checking the besiegers, till the arrival of the 

c 2 


British fleet. For this he waited in the most 
anxious expectation. 

Early in March Admiral Sir John Leake and 
Baron Wassenaer had put out from Lisbon, with 
the combined fleet, under orders from Lord Peter- 
borough to make for the coast of Valencia. For 
a considerable time they were delayed by strong 
contrary winds, and did not reach the Straits 
until the middle of April. There they were 
joined by Captain Price with a small squadron, 
in which two English regiments were embarked. 
Even with this reinforcement the admirals did 
not consider themselves strong enough to cope 
with the Count of Thoulouse before Barcelona, 
and much precious time was therefore wasted 
at Gibraltar. At length they sailed for Valencia 
on the 24th of April, sending on four fast-sailing 
frigates to gather intelligence of the enemy's 
force and dispositions, at Altea and other Medi- 
terranean seaports. The fleet followed to Altea, 
where they learned that another squadron was on 
its way from Lisbon to join them. A council of 
war was then held, which decided with super- 


abundant caution to await all the expected rein- 
forcements before undertaking any movement 
against the enemy. 

This untimely delay was vehemently opposed 
by Brigadier-General Stanhope, who commanded 
the troops, and who well knew every day's im- 
portance. That able officer held also the com- 
mission of Envoy Extraordinary to the Court of 
Charles, but unfortunately while embarked he 
had no power to control the movements of the 
admirals. His character is thus described by his 
distinguished descendant Lord Mahon. 

" In both departments of war and state affairs, he 
was considered by his contemporaries as well skilled ; 
and they saw him at successive periods attain the 
highest pinnacle of each, being at one time Com- 
mander-in-Chief in Spain, and afterwards First Lord of 
the Treasury in England. In both he is admitted to 
have shown very great disinterestedness as to personal 
profit and enrichment. * * * Many men accordingly 
have left a more ample fortune, but few a more blame- 
less character behind them. Even now his high 
qualities are recorded by tradition in the country 
where they were most conspicuously shown : his name 
c 3 


yet lives in the honourable recollection of the Spanish 
peasantry ; and two of his great grandchildren, who 
fought (and one fell) in the late Peninsular campaigns, 
met with frequent inquiries, whether they were in 
any wise related to the Don Diego Estanop, the 
great English general in the War of the Succession." 

The fleet remained at anchor in Altea Bay, 
but frigates were sent to the westward to seek 
for tidings of the expected succour, and a 
messenger was also directed to Vinaros, to com- 
municate with Peterborough, and to obtain in- 
telligence of his movements. On the 30th of 
April, Sir George Byng entered the harbour with 
the Irish squadron, which had come by way of 
Falmouth. Even then Sir John Leake per- 
sisted in awaiting Commodore's Walker's ships 
with a convoy of transports. On the 31st they 
also arrived, and the combined fleet at length 
weighed anchor. But now the obstruction of 
contrary winds succeeded to that of the over- 
prudent admiral. For three days they made no 
progress ; and during those three days the position 
of the besieged king at Barcelona had become 
almost desperate. 


Meanwhile, the messenger despatched by way 
of Vinaros had reached Lord Peterborough. By 
this communication Stanhope assured the Earl 
that every effort in his power should be made to 
hasten Sir John Leake's movements, and that he 
would give timely notice of the approach of the 
fleet ; adding, that if a letter or paper should at 
any time be received, although it might be with- 
out direction, and be only a half-sheet " cut in 
the middle," the Earl might certainly depend 
upon it that the two fleets were joined, and were 
making the best of their way to Barcelona. 

For the service of carrying this token, the 
messenger was richly bribed to fidelity, and 
encouraged by the assurance that there could be 
no danger, if he even fell into the enemy's hands, 
as his blank despatch could hardly be intelligent 
to the captors. Moreover, he was not entrusted 
with the secret, and was totally ignorant of the 
burthen of his message. 

When this important blank sheet reached 
Peterborough, he instantly ordered his little 
army into motion. No one guessed the meaning 
c 4 


of the message, and no one could surmise the 
object of the march, which appeared to be its 
immediate result. But officers and soldiers 
obeyed as usual, without inquiry ; " for " said one, 
who served under him there, " they were led to 
it by so many unaccountable varieties of success, 
that affiance became a second nature." 

The little army followed Peterborough in full 
confidence ; they marched the whole night, taking 
a south-westerly direction over the hills, towards 
the sea-shore. At daybreak they found them- 
selves at the little seaport of Sitjes, about seven 
leagues from Barcelona, where they were ordered 
to encamp behind some hills. While they rested 
after their toilsome march, the indefatigable 
general busied himself in collecting every boat, 
barge, and fishing-smack, along the neighbouring 
coast, and secured them for immediate use; in 
two days he procured sufficient to embark his 
whole force. These strange preparations filled 
his officers with astonishment, and, . despite their 
confidence in his prudence, with dismay. The 
impression among them was, that he had formed 


the desperate determination to attack the French 
fleet by himself. Their uneasiness was, however, 
soon relieved. 

He assembled his officers at night, when his 
preparations were complete, and informed them 
that he designed to meet and accompany the 
English fleet, which was now daily expected, 
before the French could have any notice of his 
design. That his efforts on land could be of no 
further benefit to the cause, and that, he having 
taken all the necessary steps for their transport 
in safety, nothing remained for them to do, but 
to obey his orders. This characteristic address 
alike satisfied the officers, and filled them with 
admiration of their commander's genius and of 
astonishment at his eccentricity. 

At earliest dawn he repaired to the top of the 
highest hill, to look out for the anxiously 
expected fleet ; but he strained his sight in vain, 
" to the unspeakable grief of his great and generous 
soul," for over the sea came still the roar of the 
artillery against the ruined walls of Barcelona, 
and fainter and fainter, day by day, the reply of 


the besieged. When he descended to the shore, 
he found that a felucca had just arrived from the 
city, which had with great difficulty eluded the 
French blockade. She bore letters from the 
king, once more urging, with all the energy of 
desperation, the speedy coming of the fleet. 

The arrival of the felucca gave Peterborough 
an opportunity to relieve his anxious impatience 
by action. To the surprise and dismay of his 
officers, and of Mr. Crow, the British minister, he 
immediately embarked in this open boat, and, 
attended only by one aide-de-camp, Captain 
Humphries, put out to sea in search of the fleet. 
He had, however, a sufficient object in view for 
this apparently rash step ; he dreaded the escape 
of the French ships, should Sir John Leake 
display his overwhelming strength : he therefore 
intended to approach Barcelona with only such a 
force as might induce the Count of Thoulouse 
to hazard an engagement. Of the result, the 
gallant Englishman had no doubt. As has been 
before stated, Peterborough held the Queen's 
commission for full command over her fleets, as 


well as armies, whenever he was embarked. This 
it was which induced him to put off at all hazards, 
and endeavour to join the ships in the night. 

The impatient Earl urged the master of the 
little felucca much further out to sea than he 
wished: the weather was cold and stormy, and 
they were in a sorry plight before morning ; but 
then, to their great joy, they sighted the Leopard 
man-of-war, commanded by Captain Price : from 
him they learned that the fleet was close at hand. 
This officer's surprise may be imagined at being 
boarded at break of day, almost out of sight of 
land, from an open boat, by the Admiral of all 
the fleets. Peterborough did not delay a moment 
after having received and given the necessary 
information; he turned the prow of his little 
vessel, and once more sought the shore. 

He was met there by the joyful congratulations 
of those who hardly expected to have seen him 
safe again. He then gave orders to his dis- 
posable force, about 1400 men, to embark in the 
boats that night, and at daybreak to follow the 
movements of the fleet into the Bay of Barcelona. 


But he again "felucca'd himself," and accom- 
panied as before, only by Captain Humphries, 
put to sea to join Sir John Leake. 

On the night of the 7th of May, Peterborough 
boarded the Prince George, and immediately 
hoisted the Union Jack on the main-top, taking 
upon himself the command of the fleet as Admiral. 
He then sent a pinnace to Sir John Leake, to 
acquaint him with his orders and intentions, and 
another boat to advise Brigadier-General Stanhope 
of his arrival. But the darkness delayed the 
delivery of these messages till nearly morning. 
When day appeared, the whole fleet was amazed 
at seeing the flag of the commander-in-chief. 
No one could account for the singular event; if 
the eccentric Earl had dropped from the clouds, 
they could hardly have thought it more extra- 

With a fair and fresh gale, the British fleet 
then crowded all sail ; but when they had come 
within about eighteen miles of Barcelona, one of 
the French look-out ships gave the alarm; the 


signal was passed on rapidly from one to the 
other, till it reached the Count of Thoulouse. 
He waited not to measure his enemy's strength ; 
without a moment's delay he weighed anchor, 
raised the blockade, and put to sea. Thus was 
Peterborough deprived of the opportunity of a 
splendid, and perhaps decisive success. His 
sanguine but well founded expectation had 
pictured a glorious action at sea, within sight of 
the besieged city, and a triumphant entry into 
the harbour, bearing with him the captured 
squadrons of the enemy. 

In the afternoon of the 8th, the leading ships 
of the British fleet entered the harbour of 
Barcelona, and preparations were made for an 
immediate landing. The first men who touched 
the shore were Peterborough's veterans, who had 
come with the fleet from Sitjes. Never was 
succour more welcome. An assault upon the 
trenches, which were now no longer defensible, 
was expected every hour. The king himself 
received the allied chiefs with the strongest 


expressions of gratitude to them and to their 
royal mistress. 

The French still for a few days pursued the 
siege with some show of vigour ; but they had 
now a formidable force opposed to them, and the 
untiring energy of Peterborough. He worked 
day and night in superintending the works of 
defence, and in placing the troops in readiness for 
the expected assault. Even then there were 
some so timid as to despair of holding out ; but 
the English general declared that he " would 
fight the French, even to the last corner of 
the city." 

The soldiers of the besieging army were still 
eager for an assault ; but Tesse, who had through- 
out opposed bold measures, was now obstinately 
resolved against so great a risk. Philip, and 
many of the Spanish officers, endeavoured to 
overcome his fears, but, a council of war being 
called, the general's views were adopted, and it 
was resolved to abandon the siege. At one 
o'clock on the morning of the llth of May they 


broke up their camp, under cover of the total 
darkness, and in great confusion made their way 
towards the French frontier. At daylight some 
of their guns began to fire, as they had left a 
small body of light troops to cover their retreat, 
and conceal it from the besieged as long as 
possible. This rearguard, however, soon followed. 
Tesse preferred even the ignominy of falling back 
into France, with his beaten and dispirited army, 
to the hazard of retracing his steps towards 
Saragoza, where his late devastations and cruelties 
had caused the whole population to rise in in- 
surrection, as soon as the pressure of his army 
was removed. Besides which, he had received 
intelligence that Peterborough had caused every 
pass and every town by which he could have 
moved to the westward, to be fortified and 
garrisoned by the Miquelets. 

Philip arrived at Roussillon, after a hasty and 
harassed retreat, sad and dejected, driven from 
the land which he had striven, not unworthily, to 
govern. His capital was lost, his friends, who had 


stood by him bravely, abandoned to their fate, his 
enemies everywhere triumphant. Here he learned 
the disastrous news of Ramillies, and of the loss 
of nearly all the Netherlands ; here he heard of 
the fatal battle of Turin, and of the loss of Italy. 
The day of his flight from Barcelona had been 
marked by a total eclipse. " The sun had been 
formerly chosen as the device of the House of 
Bourbon, and its dimness in the heavens at this 
critical period was generally thought to forbode the 
decline of that haughty family on earth."* In the 
light of a brighter intelligence how incredible 
appears the blasphemous meanness, of daring to 
connect the phases of a human family with the great 
walk of nature ! The sun, sensitive to the fortunes 
of the royal house, which has done it the honour 
of adoption, hides its vassal face in respectful 
sympathy with the darkness which has fallen on 
the Bourbons ! 

All the ordnance and stores of the French 
army were abandoned to the victors ; 200 heavy 
brass guns, 30 mortars, a vast quantity of shot, 

* Lord Mahon. 


shells, entrenching tools, 3000 barrels of powder, 
and other warlike stores, with 10,000 sacks of 
corn. So sudden was their flight, that they left 
everything uninjured, as if for the use of their 
friends instead of their enemies. But Tesse left, 
also, another legacy to Peterborough in all the 
sick and wounded of his army. They were very 
numerous, and their care was a serious incon- 
venience. They were, however, treated with 
the greatest generosity and indulgence by their 
chivalrous enemy. When committing them to 
the charge of the British general, Tesse addressed 
to him the following letter : 

My Lord, 

" You serve me, with circumstances more glo- 
rious for you, and more mortifying for me, as last year 
I did my Lord Galway in the siege of Badajos. You 
perceive the miserable necessity I am under of raising 
this siege, by the arrival of your fleet and the retreat 
of ours. My circumstances do not permit me to carry 
away a great many wounded, but humanity and your 
generosity make me hope that you will give orders for 
care to be taken of them. I desire you, my Lord, to 
be pleased to send them a guard, that they may not be 


exposed to be ill-used by the common people and 
Miquelets. I take the liberty to send you by the 
trumpeter some money, which I desire you will order 
to have given to those who have the direction of the 
hospital, that they may take care of the sick ; and a 
further sum will be remitted afterwards. The fortune 
of war makes your glory, and at this day my mis- 
fortune. I am beyond all expression, my Lord, 

" Your most humble, most obedient servant," 
"DE TESSE, Mareschal." 

P.S. My Lord, I leave a commissary and a chi- 
rurgeon to look after the people I leave behind, and I 
desire you once more that they may be taken care of." 

King Charles expressed his gratitude to Peter- 
borough in the strongest terms for this great suc- 
cess, which he said " is chiefly owing to your 
courage, conduct, and vigilance." He raised the 
two Dutch generals, the Counts de Noyelles and 
Uhlefeldt (the latter of whom had commanded in 
the city), to the rank of Field-Marshal, and 
ordered medals to be struck to commemorate the 
occasion, " one of which, set round with diamonds, 
he presented to Sir John Leake ; his next orders 


were for re-casting all the damaged brass cannon 
which the enemy had left; upon every one of 
which was engraved, by order, a sun eclipsed, with 
this motto under it, e magna parvis obscurantur.' " 

D 2 



IT was generally thought throughout Europe, 
and especially in France, that the taking of Bar- 
celona by Philip and Tesse would have decided 
the fate of the Spanish monarchy. It was little 
doubted that the conquest of the other northern 
towns would soon have followed ; they never 
imagined that the Catalonian and Aragonese 
insurrection could exist under the pressure of 
25,000 victorious Frenchmen, led by a marshal, 
and encouraged by the presence of a king. As 
to the handful of British veterans, who wandered 
among the rugged Sierras, and their romantic 
chief, in the confidence of overwhelming numbers 
they were regarded more with curiosity than 
with fear. But they knew not how to estimate 
aright the value of the extraordinary genius of 
the man who led this insurrection, and the rem- 
nant of the English army. To him difficulties 


"were a delight, obstacles but " the stepping-stones 
to success." Peterborough was well aware of 
the importance of Barcelona, but he was far from 
considering its loss as the loss of Spain. His 
far-seeing prudence had provided for that con- 
tingency. In his frequent journeys through 
the country lying between the Ebro and Bar- 
celona, he had made himself fully acquainted 
with its resources, its passes, and its strongholds. 
He had won the confidence and affection of the 
warlike population, and learned thoroughly to 
understand their character. While they listened 
with wonder to tales of his daring and achieve- 
ments that were worthy of the flower of Saracenic 
chivalry, they forgot the meagre figure and the 
strangeness of manner which might rather have 
recalled the hero of La Mancha. Even the 
grave English soldiery had learned to fall in with 
his humour; led by him they laid aside the 
national spirit of grumbling, and with shoeless 
feet, hungry bodies, and empty pockets, followed 
him cheerfully whithersoever he went. In case 
even of the fall of Barcelona, Peterborough was 

D 3 


determined that Philip should not march back 
again to his capital. There were three different 
routes by which this might be attempted, and he 
had well considered them all. The first was by 
the sea-side, through Taragona and Tortosa into 
Castile ; this road lay through a barren country, 
where there would be much difficulty in support- 
ing 25,000 men ; and to the natural obstacles his 
skill had added others of an artificial nature, 
which rendered it almost impossible that an army 
could march that way. 

The central road was in several places only 
rendered practicable by cuttings into the solid 
rock, made with immense labour ; it lay however 
through a more fertile country. At one spot the 
road had been hewn out of the side of a mountain 
for more than two miles ; this, by somewhat of 
the same labour, was soon rendered impassable. 
Here he employed many thousands of the country 
people under a few of his own officers. 

The third or northernmost route lay through 
the Catalonian hills towards the sources of the 
Ebro, and Lerida, one of the strongest places in 


Spain, interposed with a sufficient garrison. 
There were also numbers of old castles and 
towns in the mountains, each of which would 
have served to interrupt and embarrass the enemy ; 
and all the cattle and provisions in this direction 
had been removed to places of safety. 

These three routes being thus rendered as 
secure as forethought could make them, the 
only great danger to the cause lay in the pos- 
sibility of the King's person falling into the 
enemy's hands. By remaining in the mountains 
near Barcelona, Peterborough hoped that in any 
extreme emergency he could break through the 
besieging camp, and hold his ground sufficiently 
for a time to enable Charles to escape. Indeed 
it is on record that at the very time when affairs 
seemed most unpromising at Barcelona, Peter- 
borough wrote cheerfully to the Duke of Savoy 
to state, that he was in much better circum- 
stances than was generally supposed; that the 
" French officers, ignorant of the situation of 
the country, would be astonished at the diffi- 
culties that would oppose them in advancing 

D 4 


even after success ; and that if the siege were 
raised they would be forced to abandon Spain ; 
while all the western frontier would be clear 
for the progress of Lord Galway and Das Minas 
to Madrid." 

Peterborough's favourite scheme now, as for- 
merly, was that the King should at once march 
upon Madrid, and proclaim himself in his capital. 
He argued that the royal presence would en- 
courage the well affected, and dismay the adhe- 
rents of France, while many important towns 
only waited for such an opportunity to declare 
themselves ; that at the same time the passes 
upon the frontier could be held by a small force 
against the French, should they attempt to re- 
turn into Spain. Unanswerable as were these 
arguments, they were for a time unheeded by 
the German court : finally, however, Peterbo- 
rough's pertinacity so far prevailed that Charles 
agreed to hold a council of war to discuss the 

The King himself assisted at this solemn 
council : there were the Portuguese ambassador, 


the two English envoys, Lichtenstein the Ger- 
man favourite, the British and Dutch admirals, 
the new field-marshals, and the Earl of Peter- 
borough. Strange to say, this incongruous as- 
sembly came to an unanimous resolution that the 
daring proposition of the commander-in-chief 
should be adopted. They record their opinion 
in these terms : " That considering the present 
circumstances of affairs, it would be best to carry 
on the operations in the kingdom of Valencia, 
where we should not only enjoy the advantage 
of the assistance of the fleet, which would save 
great expenses and troubles, which the army 
would be liable to in a march to Aragon ; there 
being no other body in Spain, that could embar- 
rass the speedy conquest of that kingdom, but 
that small one of the Count de las Torres: 
routing this, the kingdom of Valencia would be 
free, Mercia would submit, and the most con- 
venient way would be open to proceed with the 
army towards the capital, besides the advantages 
gotten by inclining towards the Portuguese army, 
being able to resist any force the French can 


make, in order to hinder the entire conquest of 
the continent of Spain." 

Having come to this decision, the council then 
determined the amount of force to be left in the 
different northern garrisons : 1500 English, and 
1150 Spaniards at Barcelona; 1600 English 
and Dutch, with 1500 Spaniards at Gerona; 
850 Dutch and Spanish at Lerida; and 500 
Spaniards at Tortosa. This disposition left avail- 
able for the field under Peterborough 2300 
English and Dutch, with 2200 Spanish infantry, 
and 2000 cavalry, half of which was British, 
with 20 pieces of ordnance of different dimen- 
sions. It was also arranged that the King should 
take up his quarters at Tortosa until the road 
was cleared for his advance upon Madrid, and 
that 400 dragoons should be left for his body 

Peterborough having, as he hoped, carried his 
point, embarked with all the English and Dutch 
infantry, who were too destitute of baggage 
necessaries to undertake a march, while the 
cavalry took the route by Tortosa to Valencia. 


It will be observed that the strength of the 
whole army in the east of Spain, as shown by 
the distribution of the council of war, amounted 
to no more than 6500 men ; subsequently, even 
this number was diminished by the vacillating 
Charles to 4500. From on board the ship 
" Somerset " Peterborough wrote a witty and 
characteristic letter to Lord Halifax, complain- 
ing bitterly of the circumstances that surrounded 
him. " There cannot be worse company than a 
beggarly German and a proud Spaniard, parti- 
cularly to my humour." He then favourably con- 
trasts the black-eyed Senoras of Valencia with 
their sombre husbands, in a style too warm and 
racy to admit of repetition. From this he passes 
on to graver matters. " Ministers will neither 
give me men nor money, and my friends will 
neither give me letters of business nor gossip." 
He challenges Lord Halifax to a correspondence, 
and concludes : " I am off in this ship to Valencia, 
to try if I can find my way to Madrid in this 
consternation, and thence to London. We have 
saved kingdoms in spite of the King who would 


abandon them, and we have waged more dan- 
gerous war with ministers than with enemies. 
Lord Galway and the Portuguese generals pass 
all understanding. I shall do my best. Let 
neither man nor woman forgive me if it be my 
fault. My Lord, I am so stung by mosquitoes 
that I am not able to write with my own hand." j 

For a right understanding of the events in 
Peterborough's next campaign, we must turn 
awhile to the allied army on the side of Portugal. 
There the troops of Philip had been reduced to 
5000 men, in order to strengthen the Catalonian 
invasion, whilst Lord Galway, and the Portuguese 
general, Das Minas, opposed them with a quad- 
ruple force. 

Portugal has certainly proved far from fertile 
in the production of great men ; among her sons, 
even the moderate merits of the Marquis das 
Minas give him a prominent place. His race 
was ancient, and illustrious in his own country. 
He had begun his military life at the early age of 
fourteen ; at the time now indicated he was in his 
seventieth year; he had performed a long and 


honourable service, both in the army and in the 
civil service of his king. His age and experi- 
ence had not even yet quenched the ardour of 
his temper, or softened a disposition naturally 
obstinate; he had practised the art of war 
through more than half a century, but knew little 
of the theory of his profession ; he was brave and 
honest, but headstrong and narrow-minded. Al- 
together even this combination of qualities made 
him a " bright particular star," in the dim firma- 
ment of Portuguese glory. 

The allied generals were paralysed by the 
evils of joint authority; the Portuguese ob- 
stinately refused to abate in any portion of their 
rights ; and the English chief, in order to secure 
their co-operation, made concessions of .certain 
matters of punctilio, for which he was afterwards 
severely censured by the British government. 

The skilful and gallant Duke of Berwick had 
assumed the command of Philip's scanty army at 
the end of March. But he found himself too 
weak to attempt anything, beyond an observation 
of the allies' movements. They took Alcantara, 


without much resistance, on the 14th of April, 
and then pushed along the Tagus, driving him 
before them, to the Bridge of Almaraz, only a 
few days' march from the capital. There they 
halted to await news from Barcelona. Lord 
Gal way objected to this delay ; he proposed that 
they should either advance upon Madrid, or fall 
back upon the frontier, and lay siege to some of 
the disaffected towns. The latter alternative was 
adopted, and they began their retreat towards 
Portugal on the llth of May, the same day that 
Philip retreated from Barcelona. So that at the 
opposite frontiers of Spain, two large armies 
retreated before two others, greatly weaker than 
themselves, and these discreditable events nearly 
counterbalanced each other. 

The allies first attacked Ciudad Rodrigo, which 
held out for a week; there the news reached 
them of Peterborough's wonderful successes: 
they then turned once more, pushed on to 
Salamanca in high spirits, and with little further 
delay marched upon Madrid. Berwick could 
hardly throw any difficulty in the way of these 


operations, and was still forced to content himself 
with observing them. Under these circumstances 
the Duke wrote to Philip, earnestly entreating 
him not to venture to the capital, from whence 
he must inevitably be driven in a few days, but 
to throw himself under the shelter of the strong 
walls of Burgos, once the chief of the Castilian 
cities. There he might hold his court in safety, 
secure of the attachment of the inhabitants to his 
cause. Marshal Tesse, on the other hand, urged 
Philip to retire to Paris from Perpignan, pro- 
bably that he might be there more directly under 
the control of his imperious grandfather. He 
had, however, disregarded both counsels alike, 
and set out forthwith for Madrid. The Duke of 
Berwick, probably nettled at the independent 
action of the young monarch, attributed this 
audacious step to a motive, which the stern 
warrior contemptuously indicates as " impatience 
to join his Queen." 

Philip had reached Madrid on the 5th of June, 
almost unattended, and had found it, as Berwick 
had foretold, untenable. He then, at length, 


consented to the Duke's counsel, insomuch as to 
remove his court and the public tribunals to 
Burgos. The Queen, also, proceeded there, but 
in most unqueenly discomfort, owing to the diffi- 
culties of the treasury, and the poverty of the 
country through which she had to pass. Philip 
remained at Madrid a few days longer, vainly 
endeavouring to procure money, and then, accom- 
panied by many of his nobles, joined Berwick's 
little army in the Guadarama mountains. 

On the 25th of June, the advance guard of 
the allies occupied Madrid, and two days after- 
wards, Galway and Das Minas entered, but were 
coldly received by the inhabitants. The generals 
took up their quarters in the Prado, encamped 
their troops there, and proclaimed King Charles ; 
then sank into an inaction which lost the crown 
of Spain. Had they pursued Berwick, he must 
either have been destroyed, or driven beyond the 
Ebro. Incapacity itself is hardly a sufficient 
explanation for their subsequent conduct; their 
troops were allowed to indulge in unbridled 
excesses, rendering them at the same time odious 


to the inhabitants, and relaxing all the bands of 
discipline. " Their halt," says the indignant 
Peterborough, in a letter to General Stanhope, 
f< is as fatal as was Hannibal's at Capua." 

Meanwhile, however, the apparent success of 
Charles had brought the usual result of defection, 
from the ranks of the weaker party. Toledo, 
under the influence of the widowed Queen and 
Cardinal Portocarrero, declared for the House of 
Austria ; the Conde de Santa Cruz betrayed the 
important arsenal of Cartagena to the British 
fleet, and all Aragon peaceably reverted to the 
rule of Charles. 

Such was the hopeful condition of the cause to 
which Peterborough had devoted the desires of 
his heart and the energies of his mind, when the 
weakness of his puppet king threw all these 
glorious prospects to the winds. No sooner had 
the British chief sailed from Barcelona, than the 
spirit of his counsel was counteracted by un- 
worthy intrigue. The Marshal Uhlefeldt was 
appointed Governor of Catalonia, instead of the 
Count de Noyelles. The latter was strongly 



recommended by Peterborough on account of his 
military merits, and was also highly popular 
among the Catalans as a distinguished country- 
man. The people repeatedly addressed them- 
selves to the general for the reversal of this 
appointment, and he again and again pressed 
their petition on the King by letters which were 
as strongly worded as propriety permitted. But 
he urged in vain, and only succeeded in obtain- 
ing the promise that De Noyelles should be other- 
wise provided for. His indignation knew no 
bounds when it subsequently appeared that the 
capricious King had altered the whole plan of 
the campaign, which had been so solemnly ar- 
ranged, and accepted the disastrous advice of his 
German favourite Prince Lichtenstein, and of the 
rash and imprudent Conde de Cifuentes*; but 
we anticipate. 

Peterborough was welcomed at Valencia with 
the warmest acclamations. He was already be- 
loved by the people, and the glories of his former 
successes under their walls needed not in their 
* See Appendix, pp. 6 11. 


eyes the crown which the relief of Barcelona 
had added to his fame. He was received with 
almost the honours, and probably with quite the 
affection which would have been accorded to 
royalty itself. The gratification of his vanity, 
however, or his personal indulgence, were not 
permitted to interfere with his public duty. As 
soon as the formalities of his reception were over, 
he applied himself with his customary vivacity to 
the objects of the campaign. He raised a regi- 
ment of dragoons, and organised them in six 
weeks. He procured the necessary horses with 
indefatigable industry, at the moderate price of 
10Z. each. It was justly said of him, that, how- 
ever liberal of his own money, no one ever was 
more frugal of that of the public, and that " he 
had the art of maintaining an army without funds, 
as well as that of taking towns without men." 
The very day his new dragoons were mounted, 
he marched them upon Castile. 

All this time Lord Galway remained idle, 
neither recruiting his forces, nor forming stores 
of any kind ; and, worse than all, joining in the 

E 2 


German intrigue, by which Charles was induced to 
abandon the plan of marching to the capital under 
Peterborough's escort. In this may be plainly 
seen the jealousy of the allied generals at Madrid 
towards their brilliant rival in Catalonia. Already 
his deeds had not only thrown theirs into shade, 
but into contrast ; and they meanly argued, that 
should he carry the King to the capital at the 
head of the veterans of Barcelona and Valencia, 
he would reap the undivided glory of the con- 
quest of the Spanish monarchy. They hated 
him too, not less for his faults than for his 
virtues : they hated his imperious temper ; his 
fantastic vanity irritated their self-love, and his 
contemptuous dislike to them was repaid with 
ample interest. 

After three weeks' constant labour in organising 
his army, and "submitting to the drudgery of 
the lowest offices," Peterborough sent 2000 men 
under the command of Lieut-General Wynd- 
ham to besiege Requena. This town was neither 
important by population or strength ; it was only 
defensible from the position of the houses, which, 


being built f ' in a circle consecutively, composed 
the wall." It lay, however, upon the high road 
to Madrid, at the distance of about thirty miles 
from Valencia, and its possession was necessary 
for the projected movement. The garrison re- 
sisted for some days, but surrendered on a mine 
being driven under an old castle which formed 
part of the wall. By the capitulation the in- 
habitants were left at liberty, but the regular 
troops became prisoners of war. Leaving a 
newly raised Spanish regiment in possession, 
General Wyndham pushed on for Cuenca, a con- 
siderable city on the same route. 

At a little distance from this city there was an 
old castle of some strength which held out until 
Wyndham brought up his artillery; the defenders 
then retreated within the walls. The British 
summoned them to surrender, which summons 
was at first refused with insolence; however, 
after three days' bombardment, and some loss on 
both sides, they capitulated, and the Earl of 
Duncannon's regiment took possession of the 

E 3 


gates. Wyndham then proclaimed King Charles 
in due form. 

The road being thus secured, Peterborough 
wrote to Charles that "nothing remained to 
hinder him from reaching Madrid with even a 
small escort of horse, and that he thought a 
king needed not much persuasion to take posses- 
sion of a crown, when 'twould be rather a journey 
of pleasure than a march, and this to be easily 
performed in a fortnight's time." 

When Peterborough found that there was a 
delay in the motions of the Court, despite the 
complete readiness of everything for their recep- 
tion on the Valencia route, his suspicions became 
excited. He urged Charles again and again not 
to delay, and his entreaties were strengthened 
by those of Stanhope, who, in answer to Charles' 
statement that he had "no becoming equipage 
with which to enter his capital," exclaimed, " Sire, 
our William III. entered London in a hackney, 
with a cloak bag behind it, and was made king 
not many weeks after ! " So incredible did it 
appear that this favourable moment should be 


allowed to pass, that a rumour actually arose, 
and reached Peterborough at Valencia, that the 
King was dead, embalmed, and buried. 

Charles at length set out, one month after 
the time originally arranged, and proceeded to 
Taragona. Great was the surprise of the British 
general, and of the envoy, when they were 
informed that he had thence altered his course, 
and taken the fatal route of Saragoza. Peter- 
borough still resolved to leave no means untried 
to alter this calamitous resolution : he sent couriers 
with urgent letters to the Court, day after day ; 
he prevailed upon a deputation of the Valencian 
nobility to follow with the same purpose; and 
transmitted the opinion of a council of war, which 
was unanimous in earnestly pressing the King to 
retrace his steps. 

Colonel Pepper was the bearer of the last of 
these despatches, with which he overtook the 
King near Saragoza : for a time the good counsel 
seemed to prevail, and the English officer was 
even sent back with an assent ; but hardly was 
he out of the camp, when a French officer in the 

E 4 


Portuguese service arrived from Galway and 
Das Minas, again urging Charles to hasten on 
by the route they had suggested. While the 
weak-minded prince hesitated, the Conde de 
Cifuentes again pressed his evil advice, and 
carried his point. Colonel Pepper was recalled, 
and informed of the final determination of the 
Court to proceed by Saragoza. 

After this, the Conde de Cifuentes appro- 
priated all the merit of the King's decision, and, 
with a view of ingratiating himself with the 
Aragonese, addressed them in the following 
letter : "I have used my utmost endeavours, 
and at last have succeeded in bringing the King 
by the way of Aragon; which his Majesty 
complied with the more easily, being satisfied 
that, since the services you offered were free and 
voluntary, not, like those of the Catalans and 
Valencians, out of any fear or compulsion, you 
had a better title to his Majesty's presence 
among you." 

Strangely enough, Peterborough's enemies in 
England, of whom there were not a few, accused 


him of prompting the King's march to Saragoza, 
and of having then refused the necessary supplies 
of money, which were in his hands to bestow. 
On his return from Spain, he caused his letters 
to the King, at this time, to be published, which 
completely refuted, if they did not silence, his 
detractors. This publication, dated 1707, still 
exists ; but it may not be unwelcome to reproduce 
here a few of the more important extracts. 

" Valencia, 5th of July, 1706. 
" Sire, 

" Cartagena has submitted * * the inhabit- 
ants without terms, to be disposed of at your pleasure. 
* * * The way is so free betwixt this and Madrid, 
that the deserters pass three or four in a company : 
your Majesty may pass to your capital in this way, 
as in a most profound peace, * * * It is properly 
but a journey of a few days, but by Aragon it is the 
business of six weeks or two months, * * * the 
march also dangerous and uncertain. * * * * 
The resolution of your Majesty's coming in person 
this way, is in no wise an objection to the march of 
the troops necessary by the side of Aragon. On the 
contrary, when it is known that your Majesty is at 
Madrid, and capable of giving them the proper assist- 


ance, there will be no difficulty made in that kingdom. 
Sire, it is only in your capital where the proper and 
necessary orders can be given, * * * If your 
Majesty does not take this determination, you will be 
pleased to give me advice of it, that I may immediately 
take post and come to you. 

" I have borrowed the money necessary to put your 
Majesty's troops in march, and it seems to me there is 
nothing wanting but your person at Madrid. God 
Almighty bring your Majesty thither without delay!" 

" Valencia, 6th of July. 
" Sire, 

" The city of Valencia thought themselves 
obliged in duty to let your Majesty know how extremely 
they desired that your Majesty would be pleased to 
honour them with your presence ;****! 
have received letters from the admirals : neither they, 
Sire, nor I, know what to say in this conjuncture. It 
seems as if everything were at a stand-still, till your 
Majesty gives life to the whole by your presence in 
the capital. * * * * Assuring your Majesty 
on my part of a diligence to serve you, and of a most 
earnest desire to see you, the greatest prince of the 

"July 10th. 
" Sire, 

" If it is no more proper to speak to your Majesty 
upon the resolutions you have taken, it is now my 


duty to do all in my power to sustain what you have 
resolved upon. * * * * You will see, Sire, by 
the Queen's letter, that her Majesty has been pleased 
to increase my burthen, which was but too weighty 
before ; she has sent me orders and instructions, plain 
and clear, upon the present state of affairs : if I had 
received them before, I should have represented (if 
possible), with more force, the necessity of pressing 
with the utmost diligence to Madrid by the secure 
way of Valencia." * * * * 

" I obey your Majesty's orders with relation to the 
regiments of Aumada and Colbatch ; though I must 
take the liberty to say they are so far advanced in 
Castile that their march by Madrid would prove the 
shortest and most practicable way to go to Saragoza. 

" I see by M. Zinzerling's letter, how much your 
Majesty is in want of money. I have some little 
come from England, and will send it immediately to 
Saragoza, * * * * esteeming myself most 
happy when I can be useful to your Majesty, whose 
glory and establishment I desire above all things." 

It would appear, that the true reason of the 
King's yielding to the solicitations of Galway and 
of the creatures of his Court, was, that they had 
worked upon his vanity in representing the slights 
which the haughty independence of Peterborough 


had cast upon him. The great services of the 
English Earl could not be denied; but Charles 
was impatient at the sense of obligation which 
his presence recalled.! There are traces of this 
feeling in the following extract, although, at the 
same time, it clears Peterborough from the absurd 
and malicious imputation of having been the 
advocate of the Saragoza route. The tone of 
expression in this note affords further illustration 
of the familiar idiom, " the ingratitude of princes." 

" My Lord, 

"I owe you answers to four of yours, * * * 
which I have received in different places. You repre- 
sent to me the importance of my arriving as soon as 
possible at Madrid, and propose to me the way of 
Requena as the shortest and securest from insults. 
You tell me the dispositions you have made to accom- 
pany my person, and moreover, offer me to come in 
person, and concert the rest which might contribute to 
our good success ; for all which I am very much 
obliged to you, but being upon the road to Aragon, 
and engaged to pursue my march that way, * * * 
* * I consider that the journey you must make 

f See Appendix, pp. 11 13. 


to Saragoza to meet me would be too long and 
difficult ; and since the fleet is expected each moment, 
I conceive your presence very necessary where you 
are, to direct that important affair of the Duke of 
Savoy, upon which I have so fully expressed myself in 
some of my former letters." 


Thus, in this curt and unprincely letter, did 
Charles reject the proffered service of his ablest 
friend, and with it all chance of the crown of 
Spain. And thus, by his uncourtierlike honesty, 
and, it must be added, by his ungovernable 
temper, did Peterborough lose the dearest objects 
of his ambition to decide the War of the Succes- 
sion, and to humble the pride of France. He 
gave some vent to his indignation in the follow- 
ing letter to Lord Halifax: 

" That torrent of good fortune which overcomes 
all difficulties, and that infatuation which seems in 
every place to have seized the enemy, dissipates those 
fears I might justly have of shipwreck in the very 
port : but it is a cruel circumstance, that after so 
many escapes and so many dangers overcome, to see 


all so injudiciously exposed by the most unaccountable 
reasons that ever were taken. 

"You may have received by Italy, before these 
came to hand, some letters which I writ in the un- 
certainty of what the Portuguese might do. By all 
accounts the least opposition would turn them back. 
It was hard enough to make them walk to Madrid, 
though meeting no resistance. * * * * Judge of 
my mortification and grief to see so glorious and sure 
a game exposed to what I am going to represent. If 
I were at the head of the 6000 Spanish horse, which 
are very good, I would be accountable with my life, 
that instead of the king's coming by Saragoza to 
Madrid, * * * I would burn and destroy all that 
country. * * * * That I would at least delay 
his march till perhaps the French foot and horse 
might from Navarre come into Aragon. And then, 
give me leave to say, one battle would decide the fate 
of Spain." 

Lord Galway and Das Minas exhibited their 
unworthy jealousy of Peterborough in various 
ways ; among others, by leaving him completely 
uninformed of their proceedings, if their forty 
days of disastrous inactivity at Madrid can be so 
designated. There can be no doubt of inten- 


tional slight, for two expresses from the Portu- 
guese army passed through Valencia, on their 
way to the King, without being commissioned to 
give Peterborough any information. So extra- 
ordinary did this appear at the time, that the 
Earl obtained a certificate from the Portuguese 
officer that he had not letters to him from 
Galway and Das Minas. 

The Earl's irritable temper was aroused by 
these marked discourtesies: he was not great 
enough in this instance to sacrifice his private 
resentment to the public good ; he could not but 
have known from these messengers that Galway 
was actually in Madrid ; and the subsequent un- 
toward delay in the movement of the Valencian 
army was doubtless the result of his pique. 

On the 26th of July, when much precious time 
had elapsed, Peterborough again summoned to 
a council of war the Conde de Cardona, Governor 
of Valencia, the Condes of Savella and Elda, 
with five of his own senior officers. After due 
consideration, they agreed unanimously that all 
the allied forces in those parts should march 


directly upon Madrid, or to join the army of 
Portugal, as circumstances might require; and 
that once again the King should be entreated to 
come by way of Valencia. The troops were put 
in preparation accordingly. But, just before they 
started, letters came from the King, again desiring 
that Peterborough should send the forces under 
his command either to relieve the Duke of 
Savoy, or to reduce the Balearic Isles. The 
Earl, however, desired to be excused from exe- 
cuting these directions, and marched for Castile, 
as he and the council of war had previously 

The King had soon the conviction forced upon 
him of the wisdom of Peterborough's advice.* 
Instead of the triumphant procession from Sara- 
goza to Madrid, which he had been promised, 
he found difficulties of a formidable nature. The 
whole of the centre and south of Spain was in 
arms ; every town and village rose in insurrection 
against the allies; they only could be said to 
hold the ground they covered with their battalions. 

* See Appendix, pp. 14 18. 


At Salamanca and Toledo the people raised the 
standard of Philip ; Andalusia contributed 18,000 
men. The troops of Las Torres from Valencia, 
and those that had retreated under Tesse to 
Roussillon, had joined Berwick at Xadraque; 
and, more important perhaps than all, Philip 
had roused himself for the emergency ; he ad- 
dressed the troops, and animated them by the 
assurance, that he would " die at the head of the 
last squadron that remained faithful to his 

Doubtless the ancient feud between the Spanish 
kingdoms was a great cause of this outburst of 
enthusiasm ; the old Castilian pride was irritated 
to madness, when a king was about to be forced 
upon them by the fierce Catalans, whom they 
hated, and by the luxurious Valencians, whom 
they despised. Their religious feelings were 
outraged by the alliance of English heretics, and 
their national hatred was aroused by the presence 
of the Portuguese. It is probable that these 
influences were more powerful than their love for 
Philip and his French ministers. 



On becoming aware of the state of things, 
Charles sent, in the utmost haste, to ask the aid 
of the great chief who had so often proved his 
mainstay in time of peril. The Earl instantly 
complied with the request for his presence, and, 
marching with all speed, overtook the King at 
Pastrana, on the 4th of August, and thence, on 
the following day, escorted him in safety to the 
army of Portugal at Guadalaxara. Even then 
the united strength of the allies did not exceed 
18,000 men. In spite of their weakness, Lord 
Galway and the other allied chiefs were for 
delivering at once a general action : Peterborough, 
usually so impetuous, alone objected, remarking 
with bitterness, that the troops were not in a 
condition to render it advisable that the fate of 
Spain should then be risked on a battle. A 
skirmish on the following day, in which some 
battalions of the allies were thrown into dis- 
creditable confusion, tended to prove the wisdom 
of his counsel. 



As may well have been supposed, Peterborough's 
arrival was the signal for a jealous outbreak 
among the rival generals. Who was to command 
in chief? Peterborough held the senior com- 
mission on account of his former appointment to 
the command in the West Indies ; but it appears 
that Lord Galway held especial authority from 
England over all her armies in Spain. Peter- 
borough argued, probably with truth, that his 
troops, who were given him for a particular 
service, were never meant to be included under 
the orders of the general who was sent to conduct 
the war from the side of Portugal; and he 
considered that he made a great personal sacrifice, 
for the sake of harmony, when he proposed that 
Das Minas, Lord Galway, the Dutch Count 
de Noyelles, should each command their own 
forces, receiving their orders only from the King. 

F 2 


Should this proposal not be accepted, he stated 
his willingness to leave his own military rank 
altogether in abeyance, and serve as a volunteer. 
It can never be known whether he was really 
sincere in this magnanimous offer; probably he 
did not know himself; but it is certain that his 
incapable rivals would rather have faced all the 
armies of France, than have had such a volunteer 
in their camp. 

Lord Gal way states that he himself offered the 
command to Peterborough, and to serve under 
his orders ; at that time he daily expected a recall 
from England, by his own request. But Das 
Minas positively refused to surrender his pre- 
tensions, and the continued discussion excited 
great bitterness of feeling among them and their 
respective partisans. 

But while this delicate question remained un- 
decided, the affairs of the allies had become 
highly critical. Berwick, with an army now 
increased to 22,000 men, had nearly succeeded in 
surprising Galway. Lord Tyrawley had prevented 
a disastrous defeat by his vigilance, and by the 


gallant defence of an outpost for two precious 
hours. The army, however, had been forced to a 
hasty retreat, and had not yet recovered from its 
confusion. The insurrection gained ground day 
by day; and such was the spirit manifested by 
the people, that Peterborough himself exclaimed 
with admiration, " All the force of Europe could 
not subdue Castile ! " 

Peterborough here made a proposal to the 
King, which would probably have led to many 
good results, had it been adopted. He offered to 
attempt the recovery of Madrid, if allowed a 
force of 5000 men. His plan was to seize the 
pass of Henarese, near Alcala, by which step he 
could either fight the enemy at an advantage, or 
secure a retreat ; then occupy Alcala, and thence 
force his way to the capital. The plan, at first, 
met with the approbation of the King, and of all 
the generals ; but delays were thrown in his way, 
and, in the meantime, the German favourites 
spared no pains to incense Charles against him, 
and to destroy confidence in his judgment. 
Another difficulty was the want of supplies for 

F 3 


the array, while awaiting the result of the 
expedition, as little preparation having been made 
for staying here as there was for pursuing the 
Duke of Berwick. 

"His Excellency finding there were generals 
enough for the rest of the campaign, though, 'tis 
possible, there might be want of soldiers," 
announced his intention of obeying orders from 
Queen Anne, dated 12th June, and repeated on 
the 17th, to proceed to the assistance of the 
Duke of Savoy. Had his position in Spain been 
less disagreeable, it is probable that he would not 
have been in any great hurry to obey these 
commands. It is indeed, suggested, that when 
he informed Charles of his intention to go, he 
expected that he would have been besought to 
remain, and that he was bitterly chagrined when 
he found that his plan was acceded to with 

That no formality might be wanting, and that 
no excuse might be left to Peterborough for 
changing his mind, a council of war was held at 
the Palace of Guadalaxara, on the 9th of August, 


to consider the despatches from England, and the 
Earl's determination upon them. Lord Galway, 
Das Minas, De Noyelles, Stanhope, and Prince 
Lichtenstein, were present, and all were unani- 
mous in recommending that their fiery colleague 
should depart on his expedition as soon, and for 
as long a period, as possible. He was recom- 
mended, at the same time, to attempt the capture 
of Port Mahon, and was also charged by the 
King with a commission to borrow 100,000 
pistoles, or any greater or smaller sum, at Genoa, 
on the security of the royal domains. 

In deep mortification, and highly indignant 
against the weak and ungrateful prince whom he 
had served with such splendid success, Peter- 
borough rode from the camp at Guadalaxara on 
the llth of August. His escort only consisted 
of eighty dragoons, although at that time there 
were serious difficulties in the route to Valencia. 
From the hour of his departure, darkness fell 
upon the fortunes of the House of Austria in 

Peterborough's journey was full of adventures. 

F 4 


He had not been long on the road, when he 
heard that all his baggage, consisting of eight 
waggon loads, had fallen into the enemy's hands 
in a most vexatious manner. On his leaving 
Valencia, he had ordered it to be sent after him 
to Guadalaxara, by the main route through 
Requena and Cuenca. When it arrived at the 
latter town, General Wyndham, who commanded 
there, forwarded it with a small escort. But 
when about twenty-four miles on their route, at 
the little town of Huete, a party of the Duke of 
Berwick's troops, bearing the English emblems, 
boughs in their hats, came into the town, crying 
out, " Long live Charles the Third ! " Favoured 
by this stratagem they got close to the waggons, 
without having excited any suspicion. They 
then rushed upon the guard, and immediately 
overpowered it ; plundered the convoy of every- 
thing worth taking, and then took their departure. 
Peterborough was in no mood to bear this loss 
with philosophy; it was very considerable; be- 
sides his baggage, all his spare horses, carriages, 
and mules had been carried off, to the value of 


not less than 80007. There was no doubt, as it 
appeared on inquiry, that the inhabitants of 
Huete had joined in and profited by the plun- 
der, as well as given information to Berwick's 
troopers. He therefore held them responsible. 
His first resolve was to lay the offending town 
in ashes, and, as he was joined by Wyndhain 
within a few miles, he had ample power to do so. 
When he rode into Huete at the head of his 
escort of Killigrew's dragoons, he immediately 
summoned the magistrates and the clergy to meet 
him, and told them in decided terms that " they 
must find his baggage and the rogues that stole 
it." After the strictest search, however, they 
were able to find but a very small part of the 
missing articles. He still insisted, holding out 
terrible threats, which doubtless he would have 
carried into execution. They then offered to pay 
him 10,000 pistoles for his loss, or any other 
sum which he might choose to name as right. 
This offer, however, he magnificently refused ; 
"But," said he, "you are honest gentlemen. 
For my part I will sit content with my loss, 


and be satisfied of the money, if you will bring 
all the corn of the district to the army, and it 
shall be faithfully applied to that use." The 
townsfolk were charmed at this clemency, as 
corn was far more easily to be procured than 
money. It was accordingly sent with good faith 
to Lord Galway's camp at Chincon, and proved 
a most seasonable supply, being sufficient for no 
less than six weeks' consumption for the whole 

Judging from Peterborough's character, this 
act of almost unparalleled magnanimity towards 
the rival generals, from whose injuries he was 
only then removing himeelf, was no other than 
a proud revenge upon men, who, while he de- 
spised their meaner intellects, had yet had the 
power to wound him in the tenderest point. 
Generous and magnificent as he was at all times, 
and sincere as he was in his wishes for the public 
good, he was doubtless more gratified in heaping 
coals of fire upon the heads of his rivals, than 
sacks of corn in their granaries. Some years 

* See Appendix, pp. 18 20. 


afterwards, when the various claims arising out 
of the Spanish war, against the government, 
were being arranged in London, it was suggested 
that he should demand payment on account of 
this transaction ; but the proposal was at once 
rejected with generous disdain. It should be 
added that his means were then far from affluent, 
especially in proportion to his openhanded libe- 

Peterborough so completely recovered his good 
temper after this opportunity of theatrical gene- 
rosity, that he is next found engaged in an 
adventure at the same town, worthy of Theodore 
Hook. It has been before stated that he always 
" kept up a good correspondence with the ladies 
and the clergy wherever he went," especially 
with the former. One of the priests, who had 
been of the number of those brought before him, 
chanced to mention that at the threat of burning 
the town " one of the finest ladies in all Spain " 
had taken refuge in the convent. Peterborough 
determined to judge for himself of the subject of 
this superlative praise, but there was great diffi- 


culty in gaining his point ; the rules of the order 
were strict, and the Earl's habits were known to 
be just the reverse. The lady abbess would not 
have permitted him on any account to visit her 
charge, but he was not to be baulked in his will. 
The convent was situated upon a hill over the 
town ; a lucky thought struck him, it would be 
an admirable site for a fort to protect the posi- 
tion. He immediately sent for an engineer 
officer, and having given out his intention, pro- 
ceeded with him to the nunnery, and demanded 
admission for the purpose of tracing out the lines 
of the defences in the garden. The plot suc- 
ceeded ; the lady abbess came out in terror, with 
her fair sisters, among others the fairest, and 
earnestly entreated that their convent might be 
spared. "The divine oratory of the one, and 
the beautiful charms of the other, prevailed ; so 
his Lordship left the fortification to be the work 
of some future generation." It proved, however, 
that it was not on account of any hurried depar- 
ture from Huete that these important defences 
were postponed. 


At length Peterborough tore himself away and 
marched for Valencia, still accompanied only by 
Killigrew's dragoons, having sent on Wyndham's 
brigade to join Lord Galway. One night when 
he arrived at the little town of Campillo, he 
received information of a most savage cruelty 
perpetrated that day at a neighbouring village 
upon some English soldiers. They were a small 
detachment of convalescents from the hospital 
at Cuenca, who were proceeding under the com- 
mand of an officer, to join Wyndham's battalion 
of the guards, to which they belonged. The 
night before they had slept at the village, and in 
the morning , were marching out unconscious of 
danger, when a shot in the back from a house 
laid the officer dead, and at this signal the pea- 
sants rushed in upon the poor weak invalids, 
killing several, and not even sparing the men's 
wives, who had accompanied their husbands. 
The survivors were reserved for a more horrible 
death than that by the knife or the sword ; they 
were dragged up a hill near the village, on the 
summit of which there was a deep pit ; down 


this hole they were cast one by one, shrieking 
horribly, till silenced in death. 

No sooner was Peterborough informed of this 
atrocious outrage than he ordered the trumpets 
to sound " to horse ; " the weary dragoons, after 
their day's march, had hoped for the luxury of 
rest, but instantly answered the unexpected sum- 
mons, and, when they knew the cause, burned 
with impatience for revenge. They hastened to 
the village, but, to their great chagrin, found 
that the assassins had fled, and that hardly any 
of the inhabitants remained. There was, how- 
ever, a sad confirmation of the truth of the tale 
in the clothes of the murdered British guards- 
men, which they discovered hidden in the church. 
The only person found, against whom strong 
accusation could be brought, was the Sacristan, 
who, it was alleged, had taken an active part in 
the slaughter. Peterborough had not time to enter 
into the particulars of this man's guilt or inno- 
cence, so he hung him up to his own knocker. 
At that moment the Earl quieted any doubts as 
to the justice of this execution, by the general 


idea that he could not go far wrong if he hung up 
any or every Spaniard that he could lay hands 

Having taken this instalment of vengeance, he 
went to the murderous pit ; there he found one 
poor soldier still alive, who had been saved in a 
singular manner by seizing some bushes in his 
fall : from him all the particulars of the trans- 
action were obtained, and they so much exas- 
perated the Earl that he gave orders for burning 
the village to the ground: when this act of 
retribution was fully accomplished he returned 
to Campillo. The next morning he continued 
his route, and in two days reached Valencia 
without any further adventures. 

The journey, with all its incidents of vexation, 
amusement, and horror, was not sufficient occu- 
pation for Peterborough's untiring energies. He 
wrote repeatedly to Stanhope at head quarters, 
freely tendering advice to him for the conduct 
of the allies as the only person that " can support 
this business." He also sent a letter to his friend 
and patroness the Duchess of Marlborough, full 


of good sense, humour, oddity, and abuse of the 
Spaniards. On arriving at Valencia he found that 
the Duke of Berwick had chivalrously returned 
him all the letters and papers unopened, which 
had been lost in the captured baggage; what 
a world of wisdom and folly, of great thoughts 
and of ridiculous fancies, of important projects 
and contemptible nothings, did they probably 
contain ! 

Peterborough's arrival at Valencia confirmed 
the rumour which had preceded him, that he 
no longer retained the command. The inhabit- 
ants deeply regretted the loss to the cause of 
his brilliant genius. They had the fullest con- 
fidence in him, a confidence justified by a series 
of successes that appeared almost fabulous; be- 
sides he was personally most popular among 
them ; he had with them restrained his wayward 
and impetuous temper, he had won them by a 
thousand acts of generosity and kindness ; they 
had seen him unelated in triumphs which would 
have disturbed the balance of ordinary minds ; 
and they now saw him bear up with apparent 


cheerfulness against spiteful rivalry and royal 
ingratitude. But his cheerfulness was only 
apparent ; he burned with indignation at the 
unworthy treatment which he had received ; and 
he wrote of the state of affairs to his friends else- 
where, in terms of the bitterest sarcasm. On the 
25th of August, in a letter to Admiral Wassenaer, 
he says, " Mismanagement ruins us ; 200 officers 
and soldiers have been murdered in Castile, on 
their way to join us. "We have come to this 
from being sure of the monarchy of Spain ; we 
are now worse than doubtful. "We are in the 
midst of an enemy's country, without supplies or 
a strong place ; the enemy stronger in horse, and 
almost equal to us in foot. We lost Madrid like 
fools, and this is done by the corrupt councillors 
of the young Prince ; the generals were also very 
blameable. When I was there, I was put off 
and hampered ; but at that crisis I got the happy 
orders to command the fleet. I took Cuenca, 
and am come through great perils to the borders 
of Valencia safe." 

On the same day, he wrote to Admiral Sir 



John Leake, with whom he had had a misunder- 
standing, even before they had met on this occa- 
sion ; his intention was conciliatory, and he ends 
by entreating Sir John not to fulfil a threat 
which he had made of resigning on Peter- 
borough's being appointed to the joint command 
of the fleet. 

For a few days he remained inactive at Valen- 
cia, conciliating, however, still further the good- 
will of the inhabitants, by his liberal hospitality 
in balls and bull fights. At this time an incident 
occurred, from which it required all his influence 
and popularity to prevent a most tragic result. 
Two English officers had employed their abun- 
dant leisure in paying court to two nuns in a 
neighbouring convent ; at that time it was the 
custom to relax the usually severe restrictive 
discipline of these sisters, for a short period every 
evening, by permitting them to converse through 
the grates with their friends and acquaintances. 
The officers took advantage of this opportunity, 
and succeeded in winning the affections and con- 
fidence of the unfortunate ladies. 


The fair Valencians, with the characteristic 
ardour of the South, were ready to sacrifice home 
and fame, and even to risk the awful death their 
Church decrees to such as violate their conventual 
oaths, for the sake of their unworthy lovers. Vows 
were exchanged, on one side with uncalculating 
truth and devotion, on the other with falsehood 
and selfish frivolity. The nuns agreed to escape 
from the convent ; the plot was laid, the day and 
hour appointed. By a rule of the society each 
sister took it in turn to hold the keys of the 
gates in successive weeks ; when this duty fell 
to the lot of one of the two ladies who intended 
to escape, she gave notice to the English officers, 
and they came at night and carried off both the 
nuns without difficulty or interruption. 

Next morning, when the sisters were missed 
the whole city of Valencia was in an uproar ; 
they were highborn, and the rage of their haughty 
relations knew no bounds. Vengeance was vowed 
against all concerned, and the young men of 
their families took up arms to seek the offenders 
and wash out the mortal infamy in blood* The 

Q 2 


English officers had been too public and frequent 
in their attentions to leave any doubt as to their 
complicity ; accordingly, it was immediately de- 
manded of Lord Peterborough, that they should 
be given up to expiate their crime. To their 
eternal disgrace be it spoken, they had at the 
first alarm made their escape, leaving the victims 
of their caitiff passion to infamy and death. The 
hapless ladies, forsaken in their utmost need by 
the base men for whom they had sacrificed them- 
selves, knew not where to fly. There was no 
friend or brother to save them, for those nearest 
in blood were keenest in the pursuit of vengeance. 
Accustomed only to the tranquillity of the con- 
vent, they were bewildered when beyond its 
walls ; helpless, hapless, they fell at once into 
the hands of their pursuers. 

A brief trial sufficed in such a case ; they were 
convicted and sentenced to the terrible punish- 
ment of being slowly starved to death. The 
condemnation soon reached Peterborough's ears ; 
he was moved with the deepest compassion for 
these victims of perfidy, and determined to spare 


no means to save them from their dreadful fate. 
He well knew that his utmost skill would be 
required to gain his object. Lest that he should 
be thought to have countenanced the crime, he 
inveighed in the bitterest terms and in hearty 
sincerity, against the English officers who had 
caused it; but at the same time he urged his 
earnest intercession for the unhappy ladies. For 
a long time his efforts were vain ; broken vows 
and infidelity in the brides of the Church could 
only, according to the infernal code of Spain, be 
expiated in the frightfullest of deaths. 

The nearest relations of the condemned were 
the most implacable against them ; they would 
hear of no mercy, and even became enraged 
against Peterborough for his generous interces- 
sion. They only recognised the ties of blood in 
the dishonour of their house, they only recog- 
nised the religion of the Son of God in the 
accursed law of the Spanish Church. 

Notwithstanding the apparent hopelessness of 
the case, the Earl persevered. He had deter- 
mined that these victims of the creed which he 

G 3 


hated and despised, should not suffer; had he 
failed in his gentler arguments, there is little 
doubt that he would have shielded them by the 
strong arm, whatever might have been the 
hazard. Fortunately force was not needed ; his 
great influence, and the love that he had won 
in every Valencian heart, at length prevailed so 
far as to cause the penalty to be suspended. 
Money did the rest; by means of an enormous 
bribe the condemned sisters were pardoned, and 
the convent received them safely again within its 
gloomy walls. Perhaps the prayer that rose 
from those two repentant hearts for their erring 
but generous deli verer, was not the least sincere 
and acceptable of those which the sisterhood of 
the Valencian convent addressed day by day, to 
the throne of the Most High. 

From the gaieties, blandishments, and interests 
of Valencia, Peterborough was soon called by 
a sense of duty, to Alicante ; news arrived that 
the place was holding out obstinately against 
General Gorges, who besieged it by land, and 
Sir John Leake, who battered it from the sea. 


General Mahony commanded in the town, and 
conducted the defence with courage and skill. 
The walls, however, fell under the continuous 
fire ; and the garrison, abandoning the town to 
its fate, withdrew into the castle. Upon this 
the sailors landed and carried the town without 
delay ; as soon as they had overcome the little 
opposition which was offered, they commenced 
a general plunder. The hapless inhabitants then 
opened their gates and admitted Gorges with 
his army, in hopes that he would establish order. 
This he pretended to do, and obliged the sailors 
to return to their ships. He next made pro- 
clamation that all the townspeople should carry 
their valuable effects into the great church for 
better security, which order was joyfully obeyed. 
Incredible as it may appear, it is stated by a 
worthy English officer who was present in the 
country, that these goods were afterwards dis- 
posed of for the benefit of those who had as little 
right to them as the sailors from whom the 
deluded inhabitants fancied they were to be pre- 

c 4 


Upon Peterborough's arrival at Alicante, Ma- 
hony surrendered the castle ; his provisions were 
nearly exhausted, and there was scarcely a pos- 
sibility of his being relieved. The terms of 
capitulation were liberal, and honourable to the 

The Earl found to his great mortification, 
that about the time of his arrival at Alicante, 
orders had reached the fleet, to the effect that in 
spite of his earnest application and the necessities 
of Charles, a number of the ships were to proceed 
immediately to the West Indies. This rendered 
the expedition against Minorca impossible, and 
nullified the resolution of the council of war at 
Guadalaxara. All that now remained for Peter- 
borough to accomplish was, to secure and fortify 
the principal places in Valencia against insult from 
the enemy. "With a view to determine the best 
course to be pursued for this purpose, and to 
consider a despatch from the King and Lord 
Galway, he summoned a council of war con- 
sisting of fourteen of his senior officers, at the 
Head Quarters at Alicante, on the 6th of Sep- 


tember. The opinion was, that the forces at 
Alicante and in other Valencian towns could 
not be diminished by sending reinforcements to 
Castile, without endangering the whole country 
as far as Tortosa, and the communication with 
the sea. For the same reason it was deemed 
unadvisable that any of the troops in Valencia 
should be carried to the assistance of the Duke 
of Savoy in Italy ; and should it be necessary 
to procure a force for that purpose, it would be 
better for the general interest to take it from the 
Catalonian garrisons. 

The council of war further urged the great 
necessity that the army was in for money, and 
that the only hope of obtaining a supply was by 
Lord Peterborough obtaining it at Genoa, on the 
credit of the King and on the bills of the Marquis 
das Minas. The Castilian army was stated to 
be without pay; the troops discontented, muti- 
nous, and given to plunder and rapine. This 
want of discipline in the troops had greatly 
Increased the disaffection of the people, and many 
officers and soldiers of the allies had been assas- 


sinated. They further acknowledged the hazards 
and difficulties to which the general would pro- 
bably be exposed by sea, but also dwelt upon the 
great importance of his mission. 

Peterborough sailed for Genoa, soon after this 
council of war ; but his active spirit did not find 
sufficient occupation in negotiating the required 
loan, which, however, he soon accomplished. He 
engaged himself, at the same time, in the plans 
and prospects of the Duke of Savoy, and with 
him concerted schemes for future performance, 
never to be realised. His idea then was to reduce 
the war in Spain to the defensive, and attempt a 
vigorous invasion of France. While in Italy his 
self-love was gratified by receiving a letter from 
General Stanhope, from which the following is 
an extract : "I can only tell your Lordship in 
a few words, that since you left us, our affairs 
have gone * de mal en pire.' Our whole army is 
quartered in the kingdom of Valencia, except a 
garrison in Cuenca, and another in Requena, the 
only two places we retain in Castile; and for 
these we are not without apprehensions. Our 


horse is ruined. Your Lordship knows how well 
stocked with money you left us, and will con- 
sequently judge how impatiently we expect 
your return." 

The Earl had exhibited his usual address in 
raising the required sum of 100,000?., and had 
managed to obtain it, even under the difficult 
circumstances of the case, at a charge of only 
one per cent, above the current rate of exchange. 
Having thus succeeded beyond all expectation, 
he conveyed his loan to Barcelona, where he cast 
anchor on the 27th of December; and having 
there received an inkling that successful intrigues 
had been carried on by the Court, to injure him 
with ministers in England, while everything was 
going wrong during his absence, his bitterest 
feelings were aroused. In writing to Brigadier 
General Stanhope, on his route to Valencia, 
whither he proceeded by land, he gave vent to his 
angry and sarcastic humour.* 

He arrived there on the 10th of January; and 
he, or rather the money which he had brought, 
* See Appendix, pp.21 22. 


was received with apparent cordiality by the 
Court. He had the gratification of finding that 
some of those who loved him least, had regretted 
the loss of his important services; his enemies, 
too, had quarrelled among themselves, and upon 
his arrival each wished to attach him to his side 
of the question. The Count de Noyelles 
especially paid court to him, with the view of 
engaging him in opposition to Lord Galway. 

Peterborough, however, now occupied no 
official position at Valencia ; from the high 
command which he had so lately held, he had 
become only " a volunteer in Spain." He soon 
found out with indignation, that the intrigues of 
Charles and his German Court against him in 
England, had been only too successful. The 
English government were wearied of constant 
complaints against him by others, and . against 
others by him. His irritable and capricious 
temper was perpetually betraying itself in his 
correspondence; in short, he was troublesome, 
a heinous offence in ministerial eyes, and this no 
abilities or services could balance. He was, 


therefore, ordered to England as a culprit, to 
give an account of his actions ; and the Treasury 
Bills which he had so ably negotiated at Genoa, 
were dishonoured, on the plea of his not having 
been justified in giving what they were pleased 
to call, " exorbitant interest." 

The King, however, considered Peterborough's 
services in the matter of the loan to be of so 
important a nature, that he addressed him an 
instrument, of which an extract follows : 

"Illustrious Lord, Earl of Peterborough * * 
you have lately put in execution in your voyage to 
Italy, with my approbation, and with the opinions of 
all the generals and ministers who were with me in 
my city of Guadalaxara at the time of your departure ; 
obtaining in that voyage most known advantages to 
my service, and that considering that in the present 
state of my affairs, much greater benefit may redound 
to my crown by the propositions lately made for your 
return to Italy, * * * not doubting but that 
your approved conduct in this, and all other the 
intended services in those countries, will obtain 
the execution of what shall be most proper and 
favourable to the public interests, and those of my 
monarchy, continuing in that vigour which is alway 


found to distinguish your actions, and which recom- 
mends those measures which your zeal and ability 
have adjusted with the Duke of Savoy and Prince 
Eugene, * * * agreeing in opinion with the 
representations you have made for your speedy return 
to Italy, that your personal assistance may give 
warmth and procure favourable events to the import- 
ant affairs depending in those parts, * * * trust- 
ing that your zeal and love for my service will engage 
you with that sincerity which you have ever practised 
* * * you shall find in my royal presence all the 
demonstrations of satisfaction you have reason to 



At the very time of writing this complimentary 
letter, the King had been mean enough to in- 
sinuate complaints against Peterborough at the 
English Court, principally, it is supposed, at the 
instigation of the ungrateful De Noyelles, who, at 
the same moment, wrote to the Earl in a strain 
of fulsome compliment. Strange to say, the 
principal accusation against him was his having 
left the army at Guadalaxara ; a step to which he 
had been compelled by the decision of a council 
of war, of which those 'who complained of his 


conduct were members. The ground of complaint 
was not, however, altogether disagreable to 
Peterborough's self-love ; for to his absence they 
attributed all the disasters which had since 

His friend, Dean Swift, thus indignantly de- 
scribes his treatment : " The only general who, 
by a course of conduct and fortune almost mira- 
culous, had nearly put us into possession of the 
kingdom of Spain, was left wholly unsupported, 
exposed to the envy of his rivals, disappointed 
by the caprices of a young and inexperienced 
Prince, under the guidance of a rapacious 
German minister, and at last called home in 

Another ostensible ground of complaint against 
him was, that his habits were too lively and 
informal, and that his despatches showed more 
wit than discretion. To the want of the grave 
business-like deportment behind which mediocrity 
so often shelters itself, may be attributed, in a 
great degree, the success which envy and malice 
obtained in arresting hia brilliant career. 



THE wisdom of Peterborough's decision in 
retaining the garrisons of Alicante and the other 
Valencian towns, was soon fully proved. By a 
series of petty disasters Galway had been com- 
pelled to withdraw from Castile, and was only 
too glad to avail himself of the positions which 
had been so judiciously held, with a view to the 
probability of such a contingency. 

In spite of his wrong, Peterborough was too 
magnanimous to withhold his assistance to the 
cause which the Valencian Court so unworthily 
represented. He remained for some time, and 
took part in several councils of war. At one, 
held on the 4th of February, he delivered his 
opinion in writing, strongly advocating a defensive 
war: " An offensive war is one of eclat and reputa- 
tion to the generals and the troops, but the defen- 
sive is often of most utility to the public." He 


proceeded to say, that the awakened spirit of the 
Castilians, and the superiority of the enemy's 
cavalry, would make it dangerous to march upon 
Madrid, and impossible to hold it ; that a battle 
would be unequal, and probably disastrous. If 
the allies were to content themselves by holding 
their present positions, the enemy's horse would 
soon be distressed for forage, and would, pro- 
bably, be withdrawn into France. He contended 
that the mortal blow must be struck by the army 
of Italy, and that Prince Eugene entirely con- 
curred in his opinions, as to the defensive war 
in Spain. The power of Lewis XIV. once 
broken, the conquest of Spain could easily be 
completed. Time showed how wise was that 
cautious counsel, which even the fiery Peter- 
borough supported. 

Stanhope was for offensive measures. He 
proposed to attack the Duke of Berwick, as soon 
as some expected reinforcements arrived, to oc- 
cupy Madrid once more, and that Charles should 
again appeal to the loyalty of Spain, from the 
palace of her kings. In this opinion he was 



supported by public feeling in England, and by 
the Government. The Marquis Das Minas, 
Lord Gal way, and nearly all the other generals, 
agreed with Stanhope; and, after a long and 
angry discussion, his plan was finally adopted. 

This difference of opinion led to a personal 
hostility between Peterborough and Stanhope: 
in political views they had always widely differed. 
Subsequently, indeed, the Earl endeavoured to 
throw the whole blarne of the campaign, which 
ended with the disastrous battle of Almanza, 
upon the Envoy, as having been the chief person 
who had urged offensive measures. 

Peterborough felt it his duty still to re- 
monstrate to the uttermost against this fatal 
decision. But at last the time of his departure 
arrived, and, with bitterness in his heart, he left 
that lovely land, which had been the theatre of 
his strange and brilliant military career. He left 
it in sorrow and in sadness, for he well knew 
that the cause, to which his best energies had 
been devoted, was waning fast. His services 
seemed already almost forgotten, and the Prince, 


for whom he had nearly won a crown, had treated 
him with cold ingratitude. 

But among the warm-hearted people of Spain, 
he was long and almost fondly remembered. He 
had led them to victory in the field, and in social 
life had fascinated them with his lively manners 
and sparkling wit. Although himself in the 
front rank of nobility, in a haughty and un- 
sympathizing nation, he had treated, with con- 
siderate respect, their laws, their feelings, and 
even their prejudices. Although a heretic, he 
had never openly slighted their clergy, or their 
religion : although, perhaps, a republican in 
politics, he had always encouraged their loyalty, 
and had risked his life for their king. When he 
passed out, for the last time, through the gates of 
their beautiful city, the Valencians felt a mournful 
presage, that the guiding genius of their cause 
was gone for ever. 

On the 14th of May, Peterborough embarked 
in the Resolution man-of-war, accompanied by 
the King of Spain's Envoy to the Court of Turin. 
Henry, his second son, M. P. for Malmesbury, 

H 2 


commanded the little squadron, which consisted 
of two frigates besides the Resolution the En- 
terprize and the Milford Haven, a son of General 
Stanhope's being captain of the latter vessel. 
They sailed first for Barcelona, where they merely 
touched, and again weighed anchor. 

Peterborough's love of adventure was near 
being gratified by an event which had well nigh 
cost him his liberty and his son's life. On the 
5th day at sea they fell in with a French fleet of 
6 men-of-war, 2 carrying eighty guns each, 
2 seventy, 1 sixty-eight, and the other fifty-eight. 
The enemy immediately gave chase. It soon 
became apparent that the Resolution had no 
chance of escape from her pursuers; and as a 
successful resistance against such overwhelming 
odds seemed hopeless, even to the daring con- 
queror of Valencia, he felt it his duty to go on 
board the Enterprize, as the fastest sailer, taking 
with him the Spanish Envoy and the state papers, 
but, of course, being compelled to leave his gallant 
son to his fate. Favoured by the darkness, which 
soon afterwards came on, he in company with the 
Milford Haven escaped into Leghorn. 


The Resolution was not equally fortunate; at 
about ten o'clock, two of the fastest sailing French 
ships came up with her, and, although they did 
not open fire, kept close by throughout the night. 
One by one the other pursuers, being all freshly 
appointed ships, just out of Toulon, also closed 
upon the luckless Mordaunt. At six in the 
morning the Frenchmen opened fire upon their 
single opponent, and then commenced one of the 
most gallant actions that even our splendid naval 
annals record. With consummate skill and un- 
flinching courage, the brave young Englishman 
handled his clumsy ship through the iron tempest 
that assailed her, still pressing on under all sail 
to the port of shelter, to which his father and 
comrades had escaped, every now and then 
bending from his course for a moment, to pour a 
broadside into the foremost of his pursuers. His 
best efforts were however vain: by half-past 
three in the afternoon, the Resolution was so 
maimed in her hull, masts, and rigging, that it 
became evidently impossible that she could escape. 

Mordaunt then determined to risk his own life, 
H s 


and those of all on board, rather than that their 
ship should fall into the enemy's hands. To the 
astonishment of his pursuers, he suddenly changed 
his course, and, still fighting with every available 
gun, steered his ship right ashore. The French 
continued to advance cautiously, as near as they 
might venture to the dangerous shallows; but 
they soon found that their distant fire was power- 
less to dislodge those gallant men, who had for 
hours resisted them in close action. Just before 
nightfall, all the boats of the French fleet were 
sent to carry the stranded ship; they attacked 
with all the usual courage of their nation, but 
met with a bloody repulse. 

On the morning of the 21st, a French eighty- 
gun ship was skilfully worked in close to the 
Resolution, and prepared to open fire. At last 
Mordaunt saw that further resistance would be 
unjustifiable : his ship was half filled with water, 
her powder all damaged, and her crew frightfully 
diminished in numbers, and utterly exhausted by 
the protracted and unequal combat. But even 
then he made the necessary arrangements with 


coolness and judgment. All the wounded, the 
whole of the crew, the flags, papers, and every- 
thing of value, were placed in the boats, and the 
vessel was then fired so effectually, that by 
11 o'clock she was burnt to the water's edge. 
Almost at the last moment, while leaving the 
ship, Mordaunt was struck in the leg by a cannon 
ball; he still, however, retained the command, 
and all the boats reached the shore in safety. 

After these events Peterborough made his 
way to Turin, where he remained some time, 
but Spain was still in his thoughts, and he made 
yet another effort to prevent the rash resolve of 
the Allies from being carried into effect. The 
Portuguese Ambassador at the Court of Charles 
had always shown a deference to Peterborough's 
opinion and abilities ; through him, therefore, 
the Earl made his last appeal, in a letter written 
from Turin on the 21st of April. 

" My Lord, 

" I assure you I am with a particular inclination 
your servant. I look upon you as my friend and 
companion in all the miseries and mortifications of the 

H 4 


Spanish war. * * * * Would to God you 
were free from uneasiness, when I hope to be in 
quiet ! It seems to me as if storms were threatening 
Spain, and I am the more concerned because of the 
probability of your generals' continuing in a disposi- 
tion to rash measures. It is certain they are only in 
a condition for a defensive war ; and that suffices for 
the public, since the preparations against France are 
so terrible in Italy and in Flanders. * * * But, 
my Lord, pray consider the consequences of a lost 
battle in the spring. * * * I know my reasons 
though good will have little force with the generals : 
they have the last campaign in their thoughts, and 
have not perhaps the same tranquillity of mind 
and quiet which, I thank God ! enjoy ; being well 
content with the beginnings I have made, only wish- 
ing a happy conclusion to this great affair. * * * 
I therefore entreat your Excellency to think again of 
the consequences of a lost battle. God be praised we 
are not in a necessity for a victory : that is the cir- 
cumstance of France. * * * My thoughts were 
to defend the entrance into Valencia with 2000 horse 
and 8000 foot, which were easy with less force, and 
with 11,000 foot and 5000 horse to have gained the 
head of the Tagus by a stolen march. We might 
have had as many Arragonese as we could desire ; 
who for the mountains, and defending the passage 


over that river, would have equalled our best troops. 
* * * At present, I have nothing to propose to 
your Excellency, nor to wish, but that the troops 
might not be fatigued : in the impossible views of gain- 
ing Madrid, half the army would be exposed to de- 
struction, by diseases and famine, or the whole in a 
very improper time by an unequal battle. * * * 
I will neglect nothing in my power to obtain, in a 
favourable opportunity, a succour of troops for Spain, 
that in the after season we may push our affairs. I 
desire you to assure the King of my inviolable attach- 
ment to his interest, which nothing can diminish." 

Peterborough met with much kindness and 
consideration at Turin, and would gladly have 
remained as a volunteer with the Duke of Savoy, 
or his friend the admiral, Sir Cloudesley Shovel, 
but his recall was repeated with great impor- 
tunity. He accordingly set out for England 
through Germany, being obliged to leave behind 
him in Italy his second son, the gallant com- 
mander of the Resolution, who had not yet 
recovered irom his severe wounds. Peter- 
borough's health had been injured by over-exer- 
tion in the late campaigns, and now that the 


excitement which supported his meagre frame 
had ceased, he suffered much from indisposition. 
On this account, and being also in no hurry to 
obey his peremptory summons, he travelled at his 
leisure across the Continent, visiting the camp 
of his illustrious namesake, Charles, King of 
Sweden, in Saxony.* 

Peterborough then proceeded, by special and 
pressing invitation from the Duke of Marlborough, 
to the British camp at Gemappe, where he arrived 
early in August. At this time, however, there 
was but little real cordiality between these two 
great captains, although the Duke kept up all the 
outward semblance of friendship. He writes to 
Count Maffei in a strain by no means complimen- 
tary to Peterborough, and rather giving warning 
against him as indiscreet and dangerous, almost at 
the same time that he proffers the hospitalities of 
the camp to the Earl, and communicates in terms 
of kindly intimacy with Lady Peterborough. 
On the 20th of August, 1707, Peterborough 
arrived in England. " I have overcome all my 
* See Appendix, pp. 22, 23. 


enemies except lies," said he, " and those I have 
papers enough with me to defeat." 

In a general review of the events of his 
Spanish campaign, one cannot but be struck by 
the strange varieties of character which Peter- 
borough's actions display. Even in his wisest 
and widest plans there was sure to be a tinge 
of unsoundness of mind. His greatest successes 
were gained by means which hardly any sane 
man would have attempted, and of which many 
other conscientious men would have held that 
they were unjustifiable even in war itself. Re- 
gardless though he was of personal danger, he 
valued much more highly that artifice which had 
baffled the enemy, without the shedding of one 
drop of blood, than the mere triumphs of the 
stronger sword. While at times his plans bore 
the appearance of inexcusable temerity, they 
were arranged with the calculations of profound 
prudence. Ever ready to adventure risk when 
adequate advantage offered, his caution under 
unfavourable circumstances was held by his oppo- 
nents to savour almost of timidity. But the 


rarest of all contrasts which he presented was, 
a power of the largest combination, and a far- 
seeing political sagacity, united with the most 
minute and laborious attention to the details 
necessary for carrying out his plans. While he 
considered the movements of armies, and the 
dispositions of kingdoms, no bolder captain ever 
rode at the head of a single troop of horse, and 
no more active partisan ever haunted an enemy 
through the mountainous wilds of Spain. Full 
of wisdom and of folly, actuated, almost at the 
same moment, by noble impulse and by petulant 
jealousy ; lavishing his fortune and risking his 
life in the service of his country, and yet inca- 
pable of sacrificing his personal vanity for her 
dearest interests ; reckless in morals while hating 
the mean vices of others ; sceptic in religion 
while paying politic respect to the creed which 
of all creeds he most despised; few men have 
ever united BO much of the great and of the 
little, of transcendant ability and of lamentable 
weakness. His was a powerful intellect without 
the guide of reason, a generous heart without 
the guide of principle. 



SOON after Peterborough's arrival in England, 
he was much impressed by the singular end of 
a first cousin, Philip Mordaunt, who shared in 
no small degree his own gifts, and strange un- 
soundness of mind. This young man was then 
only twenty -seven years of age, rarely handsome, 
of a noble presence, endowed with brilliant wit, 
popular, admired, beloved by a woman to whom 
he was tenderly attached, rich in the good things 
of the world, illustrious by descent, and yet 
afflicted with a strange distaste for life. He 
paid his debts, he wrote to take leave of his 
friends, and even composed a set of verses appro- 
priate to his purpose, concluding thus : 

" L'opium peut aider le sage ; 

Mais, selon mon opinion, 

II lui faut au lieu d'opion 

Un pistolet et du courage." 

He then fulfilled his intentions of releasing 


himself from the toil of life, and blew his brains 
out with a pistol, offering no reason for his deli- 
berate crime, except that " my soul is tired of 
my body, and when one is dissatisfied with a 
house the best way is to go out of it." It would 
seem that he was disgusted with the excess of 
his own happiness. 

During Lord Peterborough's absence in Spain, 
his first cousin, the divorced Duchess of Norfolk, 
died : she was daughter and heiress of his late 
uncle, to whose title he had before succeeded. 
The family estates, which, however, were not 
of any very great value, reverted to him at her 

Peterborough's restless spirit, soon after his 
return to England, threw him once more into 
the turmoil of political warfare. He openly 
quarrelled with his great patron the Duke of 
Marlborough, and, early in February, he joined 
himself to the Tories, assisted by other discon- 
tented Whigs, to damage Lord Godolphin's ad- 
ministration, and to cramp the Duke in his 
Flemish campaign. They began the attack by 


moving the previous question upon a vote in 
the House of Lords for prosecuting the war in 
the Low Countries. Lord Rochester and others 
strove to exalt the importance of Peterborough's 
services and of the Spanish war, as compared 
with those of Marlborough and the events in 
Flanders. They said that it " had always been 
usual when a great man returned from an impor- 
tant enterprize, he should either receive thanks, 
or be blamed for his conduct." Lord Halifax, 
on the other side, also spoke of Peterborough's 
great services, but held that he should not be 
given public and formal thanks until he had gone 
through the ordeal of an inquiry. The Earl 
next spoke himself, urging that the matter might 
be subjected to the most searching scrutiny. 
He then pressed upon the House the necessity 
of carrying on the war at all costs, till Charles 
was crowned King of Spain. " We ought to 
give the Queen nineteen shillings in the pound," 
said be, " rather than make peace on any other 
terms ; and, if it be thought necessary, I will 
return myself to Spain, and serve under Lord 


Galway." The Duke of Marlborough angrily 
answered, urging the importance of the war in 
Flanders: he stated, that measures had already 
been concerted with the Emperor to form an 
army of 40,000 men under the Duke of Savoy, 
and that it was hoped that Prince Eugene would 
be induced to command the Germans, who, it 
was proposed, were to be sent to Spain " for the 
assistance of King Charles." Finally, the Tory 
opposition, strengthened by the discontented 
Whigs, and the personal enemies of the Duke 
of Marlborough, succeeded in carrying a vote 
that " no peace could be safe or honourable to 
Her Majesty and her Allies, if Spain and the 
Spanish West Indies were allowed to remain in 
the possession of the House of Bourbon." The 
Queen testified her great interest in this debate 
by being privately present up to 5 o'clock in the 

Soon after this successful contest, Peterborough 
was involved in an inquiry demanded by the Earl 
of Charlemont, who had served under him in 
Spain. The complaint was, that the general had 


broken up Charlemont's regiment without suffi- 
cient necessity, and that he had implied, in various 
ways, opinions tending to damage the subordinate's 
conduct and courage at the attack of Montjuich, 
in the year 1705. A council of general officers 
was assembled to determine upon these matters, 
and the report was, like that on inquests upon 
the bodies of railway sufferers, in the present 
day, viz., "that nobody was to blame." The 
real case was, that Lord Charlemont had not 
favourably distinguished himself at the attack on 
Montjuich, and that Peterborough had, in con- 
sequence, annoyed him by all means in his power, 
lawful and unlawful, ever afterwards. 

At this time public opinion in England ran 
strongly in Peterborough's favour; his strange 
and brilliant career dazzled the multitude, and 
his general acquaintance among men of letters 
called many pens into his service. Various 
pamphlets were written in his praise, among 
others, one quaintly entitled " Impartial Remarks 
upon the Earl of Peterborough's conduct in 
Spain," in which he is lauded in a style which 



rather endangers the validity of the writer's claim 
to impartiality, although it cannot be denied that 
the praise was, for the most part, well deserved. 
" As Cicero," says the eulogist, " reports, to the 
eternal honour of Caesar, that, in all his commands 
of the field, there was not found an ite, but a veni, 
as if he scorned in all his onsets to be anything 
but still as a leader; so you will find that his 
lordship always taught by the strongest authority, 
his own forwardness, his own examples." Again, 
he continues, in the same strain : " He showed, by 
all his faithful actions abroad, that he held it 
much more desirable to live a beggar than a 
traitor; and that his conscience should expose 
him to tyranny and violence, than his hypocrisy 
carry out his temporal felicity : nor was he ever 
so absolute a statesman as to call rebellion re- 
formation, for fear of poverty or an ax." Further 
on we read; " Yet so unparalleled was the bravery, 
courage, and valour of the Earl of Peterborough 
in this memorable siege (Barcelona), that the 
dangers he exposed his person to, were not 
inferior to the most eminent perils of those 


eternized generals and commanders, Alexander, 
Scipio, and Hannibal. * * * His indefatigable 
pains bestowed on that siege proved his lordship's 
abhorrence of nourishing softness, or any of the 
arts and blandishments of self-preservation." To- 
wards the conclusion, we find the following 
notice of the attacks made by some of Peter- 
borough's enemies : " And though his lordship is 
of too heroic a mind to observe petty wrongs, yet 
I hope his eminently known prudence will be 
aware of private enemies, who, like crocodiles, 
slime the ways of them they hate, to make them 
fall, and when they are down, insidiate their 
entrapped, and with their warmest blood fatten 
their moulting envy." 

Even the pulpit sounded the praises of the 
successful general: in a sermon preached by 
George Stanhope, Dean of Canterbury, before 
the Queen, at St. Paul's, and afterwards published 
by Her Majesty's orders, he is thus lauded: 
" Then did his auspicious influence shine out 
more brightly upon the confederate arms, under 
the command of a genius peculiarly adapted to 


such an undertaking. His activity, and vigour, 
and noble fire pressed on apace, and quickly 
rendered him a sanctuary to the friends, and a 
terror to the enemies, of his cause. To these, 
we in a great measure owe the swift reduction 
first, and afterwards the seasonable relief, of a 
city to whose fate that of the Spanish monarchy 
was thought so closely allied: that prize, so 
honourably disputed (together with the im- 
pressions made in other provinces of that kingdom, 
by a commander of unquestionable gallantry and 
zeal), is now, we hope, a firm establishment of 
glory and dominion to him whose royal presence 
was both its honour and its preservation." 

Such was the style of panegyric, literary and 
ecclesiastical, that rewarded the heroes of the 
beginning of the eighteenth century. 

Some of the compliments to which he was 
subjected were too much even for Peterborough's 
vanity: Pope relates, that once when a person 
was praising the Earl's courage to his face, in an 
extravagant manner, he answered, " Sir, show me 
a danger that I think an imminent and real one, 

SWIFT. 117 

and I'll promise you I'll be as much afraid as any 
of you." Perhaps the following quaint doggrel, 
written to his glorification by his friend Swift, 
pleased him more than any other praises : 

" Mordanto fills the trump of fame, 
The Christian world his deeds proclaim, 
And prints are crowded with his name. 

" In journies he outrides the post, 
Sits up till midnight with his host, 
Talks politics, and gives the toast. 

" Knows every prince in Europe's face, 
Flies like a squib from place to place, 
And travels not, but runs a race. 

" From Paris gazette a la main : 
'This day arrived, without his train, 
Mordanto in a week from Spain!' 

" A messenger comes all a-reek, 
Mordanto at Madrid to seek : 
He left the town above a week. 

" Next day the post-boy winds his horn, 
And rides through Dover in the morn : 
'Mordanto's landed from Leghorn!' 
i 3 


" Mordanto gallops on alone, 
The roads are with his followers strown, 
This breaks a girth, and that a bone : 

" His body, active as his mind, 
Returning sound in limb and wind, 
Except some leather lost behind. 

" A skeleton in outward figure, 
His meagre corps, though full of vigour, 
Would halt behind him were it bigger. 

" So wonderful his expedition, 
When you have not the least suspicion, 
He's with you like an apparition. 

" Shines in all climates like a star, 
In senates bold, and fierce in war, 
A land commander, and a tar. 

" Heroic actions early bred in, 
Ne'er to be matched in modern reading, 
But by his namesake, Charles of Sweden." 

On the 24th of February, 1709, Peterborough's 
second son, the gallant Henry Mordaunt, of the 


Resolution, died of the small-pox, after a few 
days' illness : he was then, and had been for the 
two preceding Parliaments, M. P. for Malmes- 
bury ; but he appears to have devoted himself 
far more to his professional than to his Parlia- 
mentary career; his name never once appears 
among the list of speakers in the House of 
Commons, but he was deservedly admired and 
beloved by numerous friends, and left behind him 
a character for high gallantry and merit as a 
sailor, and for spotless integrity in all the relations 
of life. He died unmarried. 

Six weeks after this affliction another followed : 
John Lord Mordaunt, Peterborough's eldest 
son, Major-general in the army, Colonel of 
the Scots Fusileer Guards, and M. P. for 
Chippenham, and subsequently for Brackley, 
died of the same terrible disease, and was buried 
in the family vault at Tarvey, leaving two sons, 
and his widow Frances, second daughter of 
Charles Powlett, Duke of Bolton. He entered 
the army at a very early age, and by his powerful 
interest, and also by his merit and conduct, rose 

I 4 


rapidly in his profession. He commanded the 
grenadiers of the First Foot Guards at the battle 
of Blenheim, where he particularly distinguished 
himself, and lost his left arm. His political and 
religious opinions were cast in his father's mould : 
being actively engaged in professional duties, he 
seldom took any decided part in Parliamentary 
business; but on the 4th of February, 1707, he 
attracted no small share of attention, by a short 
but characteristic speech on the subject of the 
proposed union with Scotland. Sir John Paking- 
ton, in opposing the measure, had said, " The 
Church of England being established 'jure 
divino,' and the Scots pretending that their 
Church is also 'jure divino,' I cannot see how 
two nations, clashing on such a vital point, could 
unite ; and, therefore, I think it would be advisable 
to consult Convocation about this critical question." 
The young Lord Mordaunt answers, with con- 
temptuous sarcasm, " I know of no other 'jure 
divino' than God Almighty's permission, in 
which sense it might be said that the Church of 
England and the Kirk of Scotland were both 


'jure divino,' because God Almighty had per- 
mitted that the first should prevail in England, 
and the other in Scotland: and the honourable 
member who spoke last may, if he think fit, 
consult Convocation for his own particular in- 
struction; but it would be derogatory to the 
Commons of England, to advise on this occasion 
with an inferior assembly, who have no share in 
the legislature." 

In the year 1708, his imperious and fiery spirit 
led him into a serious difficulty with the magis- 
tracy of the city of York, while quartered there 
with his regiment. He claimed and exacted 
privileges beyond the powers vested in him by 
law, as the officer commanding the troops; a 
complaint was lodged against him, both with the 
Duke of Maryborough and the Queen ; and Mr. 
Secretary Boyle was directed to express Her 
Majesty's "high displeasure" at his conduct to 
the justices, and his unwarrantable assumption of 
power. His own and his father's services were, 
however, far too eminent to be long obscured by 
this indiscretion ; and he was soon afterwards 


appointed to the command of the Scots Fusileer 
Guards, by the orders of the Great Duke. 

Certain similarities in character and temper 
made this impetuous and gallant young man his 
father's favourite. The Earl often passed the 
brief intervals of quiet which his incessant acti- 
vity permitted him, at Lord Mordaunt's house in 
Yorkshire ; but a strange jealousy of the presence 
of any one who might be a restraint upon his 
actions, prevented him from wishing that his 
son should share with him the perils and glories 
of his Spanish campaign. 

In a poem of extravagant laudation of Peter- 
borough, by James Oldmixon, called Iberia 
Liberata, published in 1706, the son comes in for 
a share of the poet's not very poetic praise : 

" Early he fought for liberty and Anne, 
And grew a hero sooner than a man: 
If in his dawn his glory shines so bright, 
What eyes will bear his full meridian light 
When his great father's mighty acts enflame 
His spirit in the burning chace of fame ?" 

Lady Peterborough is also introduced by the 


same partial bard, who seems to have appreciated 
her merits more than her celebrated husband, for 
he rarely alludes to her in his correspondence, and 
she never accompanied him in any of his numerous 
journeyings. She was on terms of intimacy with 
the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, and kept 
up that important friendship even after the de- 
cided manifestations of animosity on the part of 
her lord against the great victor of Blenheim. 
Oldmixon thus describes her: 

" Beauty and wit and every charming grace, 
Which brightens and adorns the mind and face, 

The power creating has in you exprest. 

* * * * 

" Beauty is wit's, and wit is beauty's friend : 
But when with virtue, as in you, they shine, 
The transport is eternal and divine." 

A singular fatality crowded into a brief space 
the sum of Peterborough's domestic afflictions : 
on the 13th of May, 1709, within a very short 
time of the death of both his sons, Lady Peter- 
borough, whom the obituary describes as " a lady 
of admirable wit and judgment," died of a 


e< squinzy" and was laid beside her first-born and 
favourite son, in the family vault at Tarvey. Thus, 
in about his fiftieth year, was this strange being 
left almost alone in the world ; all the ties of af- 
fection, which had, it must be confessed, sat but 
lightly upon him, were severed and gone. He had, 
without doubt, still many supporters and admirers, 
but very few friends ; his imperious and jealous 
temper had turned the almost affectionate regard 
of Stanhope, and the active patronage of Marl- 
borough, into hatred and suspicion. Despite his 
brilliant services, the influence he still retained 
proceeded more from a dread of his powers of 
mischief, than from any confidence in his inclina- 
tion to be useful. But, amidst this general mis- 
trust, no one ventured openly to disoblige him ; and 
even the great Marlborough limited his hostility 
against him to a withdrawal of support, and an 
occasional sneer in correspondence with others. 

These sneers were, however, more than amply 
revenged: Peterborough never lost an opportunity 
of alluding to the enormous rewards received by 
the Great Duke, and his inordinate love of money. 


One day he chanced to be mistaken by the mob 
for Marlborough, then in the height of unpopula- 
rity : they pursued him with ferocious threats, and 
such demonstrations of rage as showed that his 
danger was imminent. His self-possession never 
for a moment forsook him ; he rejoiced in the 
savage cries that were intended for his enemy, 
although they portended his own immediate peril. 
" Gentlemen," said he, " I have two means of con- 
vincing you that I am not the Duke of Marlbo- 
rough : firstly, I have now only five guineas in 
my pocket, and, secondly, they are at your service." 
He then threw the gold among the people, and 
rode coolly away, followed by their deafening 
acclamations of applause. 

In March, 1709, Peterborough found opportu- 
nity for signalising his hostility to the ministry by 
actively opposing a bill brought into the House of 
Lords "for improving the Union" (with Scot- 
land), as an insidious attempt on the part of the 
government to obtain additional powers in cases 
which they might think proper to call treasonable. 
He detected the object of the clauses which would 


have conferred these stringent powers, and endea- 
voured, but vainly, to baffle it. The bill passed 
however by a large majority, and Peterborough 
had only the barren resource of recording a protest 
against it. 



WE would now return to take a glance at the 
general progress of the war to which Peter- 
borough had devoted himself with such hearty 
zeal and brilliant success. 

First, as to Spain. The stubborn loyalty of 
the Castilians to their Bourbon king, survived 
the darkest hour of his fortunes. The people 
loved him not so much for his own merits, as 
because he was the sovereign of their choice. 
The lofty intrepidity of his Queen, the Duke 
of Savoy's daughter, excited their utmost en- 
thusiasm. She went alone from city to city 
arousing the pride of Spain, and throwing herself 
upon the generosity of her subjects. Contri- 
butions poured in apace; numbers of the pea- 
santry flocked to the royal standard, and, to their 
honour be it spoken, not one of the nobles who 


had sworn allegiance to the Bourbons failed in 
his fidelity. 

The English and Portuguese armies, unsup- 
ported in this storm of popular hostility, were 
beaten piecemeal. Their supplies were stopped, 
their detachments were cut off, and they were 
left in utter darkness as to the movements and 
forces of the enemy. 

Meanwhile Louis XIV. spared no efforts to 
assist the gallant people who were striving so 
nobly to assist themselves. Although his gigantic 
resources were taxed almost beyond their capa- 
city to make head to the north and east against 
the conquering arms of Maryborough and Prince 
Eugene, and the successes of the Duke of Savoy, 
he yet managed to send a reinforcement to the 
French army under the Duke of Berwick in 
Castile. This timely aid speedily enabled the 
Duke to prove the value of Peterborough's 
counsel in favour of defensive war : he succeeded 
in bringing on a general engagement with the 
English and Portuguese under Lord Galway and 
Das Minas, at Almanza, and on the 14th of 


April, 1707, inflicted on the British arms one of 
those few but terrible reverses that speck the 
glory of our military annals. The rout began 
with the Portuguese troops on the right, who 
hardly waited to receive the first onset : the 
English fought with characteristic obstinacy, but, 
deserted by their worthless allies, they were over- 
matched and utterly defeated. They sustained 
a fearful loss in slain, all their colours and artil- 
lery were taken, and nearly 10,000 men of the 
allied army were made prisoners by the French. 
Neither of the rival kings was present at this 
bloody and decisive battle for the crown. Upon 
hearing this Peterborough said with republican 
bitterness, "What simpletons we must be to 
fight for such creatures ! " and he added, " Slaves 
may fight for a man ; freemen should fight only 
for a nation." 

The day after his brilliant victory the Duke 
of Berwick was superseded in the command by 
the arrival of the Duke of Orleans, who was 
commissioned to conduct the war in Spain. He 
pressed with vigour the advantages of his pre- 



decessor; he took Lerida and other important 
strongholds in rapid succession. But an unex- 
pected motive for his activity soon afterwards 
came to light. When the capricious tide of suc- 
cess again turned against the cause of Philip in 
Spain, while Louis XIV., paralysed by the shock 
of Marlborough's victories, was unable to render 
assistance to his grandson, the Duke of Orleans 
secretly laboured to induce Philip to abdicate, 
and abandon the apparently hopeless contest, 
and the Spaniards to nominate him as the suc- 
cessor to the vacant throne. Early in 1710 this 
intrigue was discovered, and although generally 
reprobated by the French people, it was regarded, 
if not favourably, at least with indifference, by 
the French King. 

In the latter part of the same year the arrival 
of the Duke de Vendome again changed the fate 
of Spain ; General Stanhope, with the main 
body of the English army, reduced to hardly 
2000 men, was forced to surrender at Brihuega, 
after a stubborn combat; and the German general, 
Staremberg, was so severely handled at Villa 


Viciosa, that, although claiming a victory, he 
was forced to abandon some captured artillery, 
and to retire into Catalonia. These successes 
again established Philip in Madrid, and the 
Spanish monarchy thus passed finally into the 
hands of the Bourbons. 

This termination of the contest was, however, 
far from being the mere result of Vendome's 
success, and Stanhope's and Staremberg's re- 
verses. Events of far greater importance had 
meanwhile occurred elsewhere. The Queen of 
England had quarrelled with her imperious fa- 
vourite, the Duchess of Maryborough, and had 
consequently withdrawn her favour from the 
great Duke and the cause of war, with which 
he was identified. The Tories took advantage 
of this opportunity, and, by means of a new 
favourite, Mrs. Masham, managed to establish 
themselves completely in the royal favour. But 
the Queen, though now desirous of peace, did 
not venture to remove from the command of her 
armies, in the midst of his splendid successes, 
the most powerful subject in Europe. She, 

K 2 


however, made considerable modifications in the 
ministry ; the Duke's son-in-law, Sunderland, 
was removed from his post as Secretary of State, 
and a private agent of the French King was 
covertly received at Court with propositions of 
peace. The new ministry were yet unwilling 
or afraid to make any public avowal of their 
pacific intentions, for decisive majorities in both 
Houses of Parliament were determined to humble 
still further the power of France, despite the 
alteration in the royal feelings on the subject. 

During these shiftings of the political scenery, 
considerable excitement was caused in courtly 
circles by the publication of Mrs. Manby's libel- 
lous book, " the New Atlantis," perhaps one of 
the most infamous productions that ever dis- 
graced a woman's pen : in this Mrs. Masham, 
Mr. Harley, and Lord Peterborough were the 
favoured characters, and were as much lauded 
as the Whig leaders were abused. So immoral 
and malignant was this libel, that the writer 
was prosecuted, convicted, and suffered a long 
imprisonment. Two years afterwards, when 


those she had praised were established in power, 
and those she had libelled were in disgrace, she 
applied through Peterborough for some consi- 
deration for her former services to the successful 

Peterborough was a person of too much im- 
portance to remain unnoticed in the new minis- 
terial arrangements. Mr. Harley, in his sketch 
of the plan of administration, says, " In the House 
of Lords, where the (Whig) faction have most 
of their strength and most of their able men, 
they will attempt to unite themselves at the first 
by some vote ; therefore no time should be lost 
in securing those who are to be had, before they 
are so far engaged the other way, such as Lord 
Peterborough," &c. Harley was right in his 
estimate that the eccentric Earl was " to be had," 
at least negatively. His hatred to Marlborough 
had already half reconciled him to the ministry 
which had interrupted the Duke's career of con- 
quest, and displaced his two sons-in-law from 

Towards the close of 1710 Peterborough be- 

K 3 


came on friendly, if not intimate, terms with 
St. John and Harley ; at the house of the latter 
Swift records that he foretold his enemy Stan- 
hope's disaster, which was so soon verified. " He 
will lose Spain before Christmas," was the spiteful 
but accurate prophecy. At this time Peter- 
borough mixed constantly in the society of men of 
genius and learning, as well as in that of political 
leaders. Prior, Lewis, Gay, the learned Dr. 
Friend, and above all Swift himself, were his 
frequent companions. With these kindred spirits 
he gave vent to the current of his eccentric na- 
ture, and, from the snatches of information that 
can be gleaned from their writings, he rejoiced in 
a sort of equality with them which his rank alone 
could not have given him. After a jovial supper 
at Peterborough's house, at which most of the 
leading wits of the day were present, Swift de- 
scribes him, with a sort of caressing censure, as 
" the ramblingest lying rogue on earth." 

In December, St. John found an opportunity 
of disposing of his new political ally. Peter- 
borough was appointed to go to Vienna, to 


endeavour to adjust those differences between the 
Emperor and the Duke of Savoy, which had been 
the cause of so many inactive campaigns on the 
side of Italy ; and to concert measures for carrying 
on the war in Spain with more vigour. He had 
also orders to stop at the Hague on the way, 
to communicate his instructions to the States 
General. This commission was, however, given 
with the sole purpose of a retainer for political 
support, or rather to prevent political opposition, 
for no real powers were placed in his hands ; and 
at the very time when he was sent, as a spirit of 
evil, to urge on more energetic war, the Tory 
ministry were secretly engaged in the preliminaries 
of a general peace. Peterborough was highly 
gratified by his appointment, and prepared to 
perform its duties with inconvenient zeal. A few 
days after he had received it, he met his friend 
Swift in the street, called him into a barber's 
shop, and immediately plunged deeply into Euro- 
pean politics; but both being hurried away by 
calls elsewhere, he insisted upon the Dean's dining 
with him the next day at " the Globe," in the 

K 4 


Strand, where he promised to explain beyond all 
doubt, how Spain might be conquered. Swift 
went accordingly at the time appointed, and 
found him among "half-a-dozen lawyers and 
attornies, and hang-dogs, signing deeds and stuff," 
before his journey : he stated that he was going 
the next day to Vienna, Swift sat " among that 
scurvy company till after four, but heard nothing 
of Spain, the conversation being all about the 
journey to Vienna, where Peterborough professed 
to think he could be of but little use. 

His friend, however, estimated his probable 
services more highly, and concludes the first 
letter, written to him after his departure from 
England: "My Lord, the Queen knew what 
she did when she sent your Lordship to spur 
up a dull northern Court : yet, 1 confess, I had 
rather have seen that activity of mind and body 
employed in conquering another kingdom, or the 
same over again." 

The want of any public acknowledgment of his 
services had long embittered Peterborough against 
the leaders of his own political party, who, he 


conceived, had allowed his achievements to be 
overshadowed by the glories of their great chief, 
Maryborough. He earnestly desired an oppor- 
tunity for the discussion of his conduct in Spain 
by the House of Lords; this opportunity his 
new political allies speedily provided for him. 
On the motion of the Duke of Beaufort, an 
application was made to the Queen to delay 
Peterborough's departure for Vienna for some 
days, that he might furnish information upon the 
affairs of Spain. Accordingly, he recalled his 
servants and baggage from Greenwich, where 
they had been sent for embarkation, and on the 
5th attended in his place in Parliament. The 
Lords resolved themselves into a committee of the 
whole House, and the Earl of Abingdon, as 
chairman, put five questions to him, to which he 
returned distinct answers. Lords Galway and 
Tyrawley (Sir Charles O'Hara) were permitted 
also to attend, and were examined: the former 
being allowed a place within the bar, on account 
of his great personal infirmities ; he answered the 
questions put to him as well as his imperfect 


knowledge of the English language permitted, 
and obtained leave to state his case in writing, in 
the form of a narrative. 

When these Lords withdrew, the discussion 
assumed the form of a censure upon Lord 
Galway; but Godolphin, Halifax, and Marl- 
borough spoke strongly in his favour. " It is 
somewhat strange," said the Duke, " that generals 
who have acted to the best of their understand- 
ing, and have lost limbs in the service, should 
be examined like offenders about insignificant 

On the 9th, the subject was resumed. The 
debate created deep interest. The Queen was 
privately present up to a late hour. On this 
occasion, to the bitterness of party feeling was 
added that of personal enmity, and military 
rivalry. To censure Lord Galway was to express 
approval of Peterborough's counsels, and to laud 
Peterborough was to wound the great Duke, 
who had thrown his political shield over Lord 

On the motion of the Earl of Scarborough, 


a Committee of the whole House was again 
formed, Lord Abingdon chairman. After some 
delay for the arrival of the Queen, Peterborough 
opened this memorable debate by moving that a 
statement, which he had prepared in the shape 
of answers to the five questions put to him on 
the former occasion, should be received by the 
Committee, as well as the narrative of Lord 
Galway; and that Lord Galway and Lord 
Tyrawley should be summoned and questioned : 
" I only seek my own defence," he added, " I 
accuse no one." The narrative was then read, 
which stated that Lord Galway had offered the 
command to Peterborough, after his junction 
with the allied army, which was refused, because 
the Portuguese general, Das Minas, did not 
make the same offer ; and that the Earl thereupon 
left the camp, after having returned from Italy ; 
and that Peterborough demanded 5000 men for 
an expedition to Catalonia, which Galway re- 

Peterborough's statement was next produced ; 
it was, in fact, a strong accusation against Galway, 


despite the previous disclaimer. " He thwarted 
me," said the Earl, " and he has been a powerful 
cause of disasters." He continued at considerable 
length, and with great animation, running over 
the story of his actions, and of his opinions at the 
council of war, and ended with the boast that 
" no party of twenty men under my command 
was ever beaten, and no ship was ever lost." At 
the close of the debate, the Earl Ferrers moved a 
resolution that " the Earl of Peterborough has 
given a very faithful, just, and honourable account 
of this council of war in Valencia." The vote 
passed by the narrow majority of fifty-seven to 

On the llth, the subject was resumed. Peter- 
borough spoke first : " Having the Queen's orders 
to leave, I hope your Lordships will give me an 
opportunity of clearing some heads that have 
been made against me by the Secretary of State. 
My going out of Spain for Italy, was to concert 
measures for the siege of Toulon, according to 
my instructions; being empowered to treat and 
negotiate with the Duke of Savoy, particularly 


about that siege, of which I have already given an 
account in writing. I had several conferences 
with the Duke of Savoy and Prince Eugene. 
But, though acting according to my instructions, 
I was recalled by the Earl of Sunderland, in a 
letter dated 23rd of September, 1706, for nego- 
tiating matters of so high a nature, without the 
Queen's authority." He then proceeded to explain 
the plan which he had formed : " I proposed to 
get 5000 men from Lord Galway, to assist in the 
siege of Toulon, and that he should act defensively. 
I returned to Spain from Turin for this purpose. 
Lord Galway refused these men ; he refused to 
act defensively, and he lost the battle of Almanza." 
The following day the debate continued. Lords 
Godolphin and Cowper warmly opposed Peter- 
borough, and endeavoured to explain that there 
was some difference in the instructions which had 
been sent him by the Cabinet Council and the 
Privy Council. " I have heard a distinction," 
replied the Earl, " between the Cabinet Council 
aid the Privy Council: that the Privy Coun- 
sellors were such as were thought to know 


everything, and knew nothing, and those of the 
Cabinet thought nobody knew anything but 
themselves ; and the same distinction may in a 
great measure hold as to Ministers and Cabinet 
Council. The word Cabinet Council is indeed too 
copious, for they dispose of all : they finger the 
money : they meddle with the war : they meddle 
with things they do not understand, so that 
sometimes there is no Minister in the Cabinet 

Lord Cowper replied, " I advocated an offen- 
sive war with the best intentions to serve my 
country." Peterborough retorted with sarcastic 
wit : " One would be apt to think the ministry were 
indeed for a defensive war, when they suffered me 
to want men, money, and all necessaries; and 
though I had instructions to treat about the siege 
of Toulon, I had letters of revocation sent to me 
of a sudden, which however I sent back unopened. 
When I came home, I was coldly received and 
disregarded ; but I preserved myself not only by 
my integrity and little services, but also by 
caution and patience." And so the debate pro- 


ceeded. Nearly every name of note among the 
Peers of England is found as having taken a part 
for or against Peterborough : Marlborough with 
cold dislike, the Earl Poulett with friendly ear- 
nestness. The Dukes of Devonshire and Shrews- 
bury joined issue with sharp recrimination ; the 
Earls of Nottingham and Rivers with ponderous 
explanations and opposing views ; the profligate 
but gifted Lord Mohun with powerful advocacy 
for the kindred spirit ; and many others, for and 
against. A motion strongly condemning the con- 
duct of the late Ministers in having advised an 
offensive war in Spain, was finally carried by 
sixty-eight to forty-eight. 

Peterborough's conduct having thus received 
this negative approval, the Duke of Argyle moved 
a compliment to him in a highly eulogistic speech ; 
and the Duke of Buckingham afterwards moved 
that a formal vote of thanks should be presented : 
both motions were carried unanimously. 

The Lord Keeper accordingly conveyed to 
Peterborough the formal thanks of the House, 
prefacing them with these flattering words : 


"My Lord, the thanks of this illustrious assembly 
is an honour which has been rarely paid to any 
subject, but never after a stricter enquiry into the 
nature of any service, upon a more mature delibe- 
ration, or with greater justice, than at this time 
to your Lordship. Such is your Lordship's 
known generosity, and truly noble temper, that 
I assure myself the present I am now offering to 
your Lordship is the more acceptable, as it comes 
pure and unmixed, and is unattended by any 
other reward, which your Lordship might think 
would be an alloy to it." This allusion to Peter- 
borough's disinterestedness was full of venom 
against the enormously endowed Duke of Marl- 

" My Lord, had more days been allowed to me 
than I have had minutes, to call to mind the 
wonderful and amazing success which perpetually 
attended your Lordship in Spain, (the effect of 
your Lordship's personal bravery and conduct,) 
I would not attempt the enumerating your 
particular services, since I should offend your 
Lordship by the mention of such as I could 


recollect, and give a just occasion of offence to 
this honourable House, by ray involuntary omis- 
sion of the far greater part of them." 

To these magniloquent compliments Peter- 
borough replied: " My Lords. For the great 
honour and favour I have received from your 
Lordships, I return my most humble thanks, 
with a heart full of the greatest respect and 
gratitude. No services can deserve such a reward ; 
it is more than a sufficient recompense for any 
past hardships, and to which nothing can give 
an addition. I cannot reproach myself with any 
want of zeal for the public service; but your 
Lordships' approbation of what I was able to do, 
towards serving my Queen and country, gives 
me new life; and I shall endeavour, in all my 
future actions, not to appear unworthy of the 
unmerited favour I have received to-day, from 
this great assembly." 

VOL. ir. 



WITH characteristic rapidity, Peterborough 
started for Vienna early on the morning following 
this debate; he had gained one high object of his 
ambition, and at the same time assisted in an 
annoyance, if not an insult, to the great Duke, 
whom he hated for having eclipsed the minor star 
of his glory. He hastened on with a vehemence 
more suited to his own temperament, than to the 
real importance of his duties. He made a short 
stay at the Hague, where he had been directed to 
explain the nature of his mission, and then pushed 
on to Vienna. 

He wrote the following letter from thence in 
August, from which it would appear that he was 
neither contented with the state of things at 
home, nor with the nature of his own duties. 


For the Rev. Dr. Swift) Bishop of, or Dean of, Sfc. 

" Sir, 

"I have often with pleasure reflected upon the 
glorious possibilities of the English constitution : but, 
must I apply to politics a French expression, appro- 
priated by them to beauty, there is a (je ne scai quoi) 
amongst us, which makes us troublesome with our 
learning, disagreeable with our wit, poor with our 
wealth, and insignificant with our power. 

" I could never despise any body for what they have 
not, and am only provoked when they make not the 
right use of what they have. This is the greatest 
mortification, to know the advantages we have by art 
and nature, and see them disappointed by self-conceit 
and faction. 

"I have with great uneasiness received imperfect 
accounts of disagreements amongst ourselves. The 
party we have to struggle with, has strength enough 
to require our united endeavours. We should not 
attack their firm body like hussars. Let the victory 
be secure before we quarrel for the spoils : let it be 
considered whether their yoke be easy, or their burthen 
light. "What! must there ever be in St. Stephen's 
Chapel a majority either of knaves or fools ? 

" But, seriously, I have long apprehended the effects 
of that universal corruption, which has been improved 
L 2 


with so much care, and has so fitted us for the tyranny 
designed, that we are grown, I fear, insensible of 
slavery, and almost unworthy of liberty. 

" The gentlemen, who give you no other satisfaction 
in politics than the appearances of ease and mirth, I 
wish I could partake with them in their good humour; 
but Tokay itself has no effect upon me while I see 
affairs so unsettled ; faction so strong and credit so 
weak ; and all services abroad under the truest 
difficulties by past miscarriages, and present want of 
money : but we are told here, that in the midst of 
victory, orders are given to sound a parley, I will not 
say a retreat. 

" I have rid the resty horse you say they gave me, in 
ploughed lands, till I have made him tame. I wish 
they manage the dull jades as well at home, and get 
them forward either with whip or spur. I depend 
much upon the three you mention ; if they remember 
me with kindness, I am theirs by the two strongest 
ties, I love them and hate their enemies. 

" Yet you seem to wish me other work. It is time 
the statesmen employ me in my own trade, not theirs. 
If they have nothing else for me to subdue, let me 
command against this rank whiggish puppet-show. 
Those junto pygmies, if not destroyed, will grow up to 
giants. Tell St. John he must find me work in the 
old world or the new. 


" I find Mr. Harley forgets to make mention of the 
most important part of my letter to him ; which was 
to let him know, that I expected immediately, for one 
Dr. Swift, a lean bishopric or a fat deanery. If you 
happen to meet that gentleman at dinner, tell him 
that he has a friend out of the way of doing him good, 
but that he would, if he could, whose name is 


The fatal differences between the Emperor and 
the Duke of Savoy having in a great measure 
obstructed the operations of the war on the side 
of Piedmont for the two preceding campaigns, 
Peterborough left no means untried to promote a 
better understanding between them. He strongly 
urged certain concessions from the Emperor to 
the Duke of Savoy, which might stimulate the 
activity of the latter: great difficulties were inter- 
posed by the Austrian ministers, and it was not 
until a few days before the Emperor was seized 
with his fatal illness that some only of the courted 
concessions were obtained. Peterborough then 
started in hot haste for Turin ; he made the most 
of the promises he had obtained at Vienna, and, % 


to the dismay of the English ministry, promised 
a great deal more on his own account. By these 
questionable means he succeeded in setting the 
Duke of Savoy in motion : the Duke put him- 
self at the head of his own troops and the aux- 
iliaries of the Empire, forced his way into his 
duchy of Savoy, and penetrated as far as the 
Rhone, making an important diversion of the 
French forces. 

Having spurred on the war in this direction, 
Peterborough then proceeded at his usual pace 
to Genoa, to meet and confer with his friend 
the Duke of Argyle, who had now succeeded to 
the command in Spain. He there made arrange- 
ments to go on to Barcelona, and advise in the 
conduct of the Catalonian war, and at the same 
time to induce the Archduke Charles to hasten 
to Vienna and watch over his own interests in 
the existing crisis. 

However, the prosecution of these plans was 
interrupted by Peterborough quarrelling with 
the Duke of Argyle; he suddenly gave up his 
intention of interfering in Spain, and posted back 


to Turin in the same frantic haste in which he 
had left it a few days before. He arrived on the 
27th of May, left it again on the 31st, pressed 
on with incredible speed to Vienna, where he 
found despatches from home of by no means a 
complimentary character. After three days' stay 
he started for England, lighting for a moment, 
like an evil vision, at Hanover and at the Hague, 
landed near Yarmouth on the 23rd of June, and 
the next morning was at the residence of Comte 
Maffee, the envoy of the Duke of Savoy in 
London: in the evening he rendered account 
of his embassy to the Queen in person at Ken- 
sington Palace. 

His friend Swift gives the following quaint 
sketch of his journey : " Lord Peterborough is 
returned from Vienna without one servant. He 
left them scattered in several towns in Germany 
I had a letter from him four days ago from 
Hanover, where he desires I would immediately 
send him an answer to his house at Parson's 
Green. I wondered what he meant till I heard 
he was come. He sent expresses and got here 

i. 4 


before them. He is above fifty, and as active 
as one of twenty-five." 

As soon as he returned, Peterborough renewed 
his intimacy with Swift, with whom he had 
corresponded during his absence, and from whom 
he had received valuable information as to the 
progress of events at home. It was Mr. Harley's 
custom every Saturday to have four or five of 
his most intimate friends to dinner; among these 
were Swift and Peterborough, when in England, 
and here after dinner they used to discuss and 
arrange matters of great importance: through 
this means Swift was enabled to give his friend 
an early hint as to the more peaceable intentions 
of the Ministry. On the other hand, the witty 
Dean valued his eccentric friend's letters very 
highly : " He (Peterborough) writes so well 
that I have no mind to answer him, and so kind 
that I must answer him." This answering was 
no easy matter, for Swift echoes that complaint 
of the Harley ministry, in having to write " at 
him " and not (< to him," as it was never known 
where a letter might catch him. 


During this short sojourn in England, Peter- 
borough met with a severe accident, from being 
upset in his coach, on one of his rapid journeys, 
which injury caused him to spit blood, and for 
several days endangered his life. But he " out- 
rode it or outdrank it," and did not allow it to 
interfere for a moment with his subsequent journey 
to Frankfort, although even then so ill, that the 
announcement of his death was expected by every 

Her Majesty had received Peterborough gra- 
ciously, but the ministry were full of complaints 
against their insubordinate envoy. He had gone 
counter to his instructions in every possible point. 
He had been directed on no account to leave 
Vienna (probably because it was thought that 
there he could do least mischief); and he was 
especially cautioned against committing himself to 
the demands of the Duke of Savoy. 

St. John, Lord Bolingbroke, writes to the 
Duke of Marlborough with bitterness of these 
acts of disobedience, that Peterborough's " head 
was extremely hot and confused with various 


undigested schemes." He sneers at the vastness 
of this independent envoy's projects : " Lord 
Peterborough's projects are vast, and suppose 
nothing less than the restoring of all the troops, 
which belong to the Spanish war, to their 
established number of 52,000 men, besides taking 
5000 Swiss and 8000 Imperialists into the Queen's 
pay: you know, my Lord (the Duke of Marl- 
borough), how little able we are to enter into 
such an increase of charge, and will therefore 
easily believe that these papers are already grown 
dusty on the office shelves," (alluding to Peter- 
borough's despatches). 

Meanwhile, on the 20th of April, an event had 
occurred which determined the fatal " War of the 
Succession," and shortly restored to Europe the 
blessings of peace. The Emperor Joseph died 
of the small-pox, and his brother Charles suc- 
ceeded him as Emperor of Austria, and became 
the probable successor to the German Empire. 
This immediately changed the aspect of affairs, 
as regarded England and Holland. They who 
had been the life and sinew of the coalition, and 


who had lavished their blood and treasure to 
prevent the overgrowth of one royal family, 
would no longer sustain the struggle, when their 
victory would now but cause a still greater 
disturbance of the balance of power. They could 
not desire to join to the vast resources of the 
Empire, the shattered, but still gigantic, strength 
of the Spanish monarchy. The news of the 
Emperor's death caused a revulsion of feeling in 
England, which was encouraged by the influence 
of the Tory ministry : the object for which they 
had fought no longer existed ; success would now 
prove a positive evil ; the expenses of the profit- 
less contest had grown to an amount enormous in 
those days. The nation wearied of her costly 
glories, and the capricious current of popular 
favour ran strongly against her matchless general. 
The Harley ministry, however, deemed it in- 
expedient as yet publicly to break up the great 
Alliance, which had humbled the power of France ; 
but negotiations, scarcely rising above the dignity 
of intrigue, were privately carried on, with a 
view to an accommodation. Meanwhile, the 


sword of Marlborough was still active, and now 
threatening the very frontier of France. Even 
the genius of Marshal de Villars failed before it ; 
the great Duke forced the lines of Valenciennes, 
and, by the daring capture of Bouchaine, finished 
the campaign, and completed the sum of his 
military glory. Not a rampart now lay between 
his victorious army and the capital of Louis XIV. 
Meanwhile, the electors of the Empire as- 
sembled at Frankfort, to choose a successor to 
Joseph. The Austrian ministers, while earnestly 
striving to procure the election of his brother 
Charles, were most perplexed, at this arduous 
juncture, by the sudden appearance of Peter- 
borough among them, as Ambassador Extra- 
ordinary from the Queen of Great Britain ; he, 
strange to say, having had sufficient influence to 
be again appointed by the ministry. He urged 
upon the congress of electors several points which 
he had no authority to propose, and which it was 
impossible for them to accept : that the Electoral 
Prince of Saxony should be chosen King of the 
Romans ; and that his friend, the Duke of Savoy, 


should be assured of the succession to the Spanish 
monarchy, in case of the Archduke Charles dying 
Avithout male issue. Despite Peterborough's 
exertions, these delicate points were prudently 
waived by the congress. 

There were some positive instructions sent 
to Peterborough at this time which, being dis- 
tasteful to him, he left completely unnoticed. 
Queen Anne had received information that the 
Prince of Saxony was about to proceed to Rome 
and become a Roman Catholic, for the sake of 
marrying the archduchess. The Queen, strongly 
disapproving of this proposed defection from the 
Protestant party, sent the following orders to 
Peterborough at Vienna : 

" That you are to join the Prince of Saxony before 
his arrival in Rome, but in such a manner that your 
doing so may appear accidental. Endeavour to in- 
sinuate yourself into his good opinion, and use the 
strongest arguments for his continuing in the Pro- 
testant religion. If his doing so would endanger him, 
concert measures for bringing him in safety into our 
dominions, or those of some other Protestant prince or 
state. The nature of this service is such that we can 


neither enjoin you to correspond with either of our 
Secretaries of State, or limit the time of your return. 
We therefore leave it entirely to your discretion and 
prudence to come back to Turin, when you shall 
judge your attendance on the prince of no further 

A. R." 

Peterborough did act altogether upon his own 
discretion ; and as the duty was distasteful to 
him, and, as he thought, unbecoming his dignity, 
he took no steps whatever in the matter. 

Much curiosity was excited at Frankfort, on 
account of some private visits paid to Peter- 
borough by Signor Albani, the Pope's Nuncio, 
who attended the congress incognito, to watch 
the interests of the Holy See. The real purport 
of these visits remains a secret; but it was 
currently reported that the Nuncio complained 
bitterly to the Protestant British Ambassador, of 
the ill-treatment he had received at the hands 
of the Roman Catholic electors. Peterborough 
was here attacked by a dangerous illness, which 
nearly cost him his life. Indeed, for a day or 


two, his case appeared so desperate, that it was 
actually reported in England that he was dead. 

On the 12th of October, the Archduke Charles 
of Austria, King of Spain, was unanimously 
elected King of the Romans and Emperor of 
Germany, under the title of Charles VI. ; and a 
few days afterwards he was formally installed. 
All strangers being compelled to withdraw from 
Frankfort during the ceremony, Peterborough 
took the opportunity of visiting Prince Eugene 
at the Imperial camp near Spires ; he, however, 
returned to congratulate the new Emperor, and 
then set off for Italy, where, as it was whispered, 
he was drawn by a gentle but powerful attraction. 

In the latter part of the year 1711, negotiations 
for peace were at length openly commenced in 
London. The Queen sent Lord Strafford to 
Holland, who obtained that the Dutch should 
name plenipotentiaries, and receive those of 
France. Marlborough's victorous career was in- 
terrupted by the deprivation of all his employ- 
ments; and the English contingent, now under 
the Duke of Ormond, was withdrawn from Prince 


Eugene. A suspension of arms was proclaimed 
between England and France, and Dunkirk was 
delivered over by Lewis XIV. to Queen Anne, 
in earnest of his good faith. Just then his 
fortunes were at the very lowest ebb: Prince 
Eugene with a superior force still pressed on, 
and spread alarm even to the royal household. 
The Dauphin, the Duke and Duchess of Bur- 
gundy, and their only son, all died within a brief 
space, and were carried to their graves on the 
same day. Just then, too, the Duke de Vendome, 
the conqueror of Spain, the darling of the people 
and the army, also died. 

In this depth of calamity, Voltaire relates that 
Louis XIV., though then seventy years of age, 
when advised to retire from the magnificent 
palace which he had tenanted during the early 
glories of his reign, declared that " in case of any 
fresh misfortune, I will assemble the nobility of 
my kingdom, and die fighting at their head." 
Meanwhile the skill of the aged Marshal de 
Villars, and an error of Prince Eugene's, saved 
France, and forced the allied army, shattered and 


dispirited, back over the frontier. The peace 
of Utrecht soon followed, which left England in 
the first place among the nations of the earth. 

During all these negotiations the British minis- 
try kept their dangerous ambassador in complete 
ignorance of their real views and intentions. 
Mr. St. John constantly wrote to him apologising 
for not supplying information and instructions, 
pleading as excuse <{ the uncertainty whither to 
send safely," in allusion to Peterborough's per- 
petual journeyings, and endeavouring by personal 
compliments to reconcile him to this withholding 
of confidence. Sometimes the Secretary wrote 
with professions of the fullest trust, but in reality 
confiding nothing ; for example, in the beginning 
of 1712 "I will give you the full state of our 
affairs. I write only to yourself, not as a minis- 
ter, but as a friend." Then he proceeds to state 
circumstances which everybody knew, and con- 
tinues : " I make no scruple of giving this ac- 
count to your Lordship thus plainly, because I 
know you not to be discouraged by difficulties." 

In May following, St. John, now Lord Boling- 

VOL. II. M. 


broke, writes again, much in the same strain, in 
answer to Peterborough's remonstrances. " Do 
not doubt of my friendship, and that I and the 
rest of the ministry are exerting ourselves to pro- 
mote your interests. You never passed through 
such a scene of confusion and difficulty as this 
last winter has afforded us. To these causes, and 
to others of a near resemblance, be pleased, my 
Lord, to attribute the state of darkness and 
uncertainty you complain of having been left in. 
The Queen has from week to week expected 
the moment when her affair and the great busi- 
ness now in agitation would require the employ- 
ing you in a post worthy of your talents, and 
I believe agreeable to your wishes ; that moment 
is not very far off." He then alludes to the 
instructions regarding, the Prince of Saxony, 
which Peterborough had utterly neglected, in 
these mild terms "a commission which I per- 
ceive you do not very much relish ; " and con- 
cludes with, " no man loves you better or honours 
you more than I do." 

A few weeks afterwards Bolingbroke writes to 


him again in the same style, ending with a post- 
script : " I visit Parson's Green (Peterborough's 
house near London) very often, and have in- 
dulged myself in all those pleasures which shady 
walks and cool retreats inspire. There wanted 
nothing but the master to make me willing to 
continue ever there." 

In the end of December, 1712, Peterborough 
returned to London for the purpose of opposing 
the accommodation with France, in such haste 
as again to bring on spitting of blood, having 
however no intention of breaking with the minis- 
try. On arriving in London the 4th of January, 
he went to the house of Mr. Harley, now Lord 
Oxford, at seven in the evening ; it being Satur- 
day, Bolingbroke, the Duke of Ormond, several 
other peers, and Dean Swift, were at table when 
Peterborough was announced at the door. Ox- 
ford and Bolingbroke rose and went out to meet 
him and bring him in : when he entered the 
room he singled the Dean out from the goodly 
company for his first and most affectionate no- 
tice; he ran over, kissed him, and chid him 

M 2 


severely for not having written oftener. In 
return for this compliment Swift declares in his 
Journal that " I love the hang-dog dearly." The 
Dean also informs us that the "hang-dog" 
brought back with him this time the fair object 
of attraction which had before led him to Italy." 

The ministry further conciliated Peterborough 
by giving him the command of the " old Oxford 
Regiment of Horse," now the Royal Horse 
Guards Blue, which had just then become vacant 
by the death of Lord Rivers. For a time he 
took no very active share in public life, partly 
from his personal regard for the ministry which 
opposed his political principles, and partly on 
account of a return of the spitting of blood. In 
April, however, he was sufficiently recovered to 
join in the debate on the address in answer to 
the Queen's speech to Parliament, in which was 
communicated the arrangements of the Treaty of 
Utrecht. The Whig party, joined by Lord Not- 
tingham, opposed the address, which was, as usual, 
an expression of approval of the conduct of the 
ministry. Lord Peterborough, although strongly 


opposed to the peace, did not speak against it, but 
took an opportunity of assailing the Duke of Marl- 
borough (who was at that time absent in Germany), 
as having been personally interested in carrying on 
the war. Peterborough was led into this some- 
what ungenerous onslaught, by a personal attack 
which was made upon him by the Duke's friend, 
Lord Halifax. 

On the 28th of May he took part in the debate 
for the repeal of the Union with Scotland, 
brought on in the House of Lords by the motion 
of the Earl of Finlater. He sided with the 
ministry against the repeal, and spoke at con- 
siderable length with his usual quaint and cha- 
racteristic wit. " It is," said he, " impossible to 
dissolve this Union. I have heard it compared 
to a marriage ; according to that notion, since it 
is made it cannot be broke, being made by the 
greatest power on earth. Though sometimes 
there happens a difference between man and wife, 
yet it does not presently break the marriage; 
so, in the like manner, though England, who in 
this national marriage must be supposed to be the 

M 3 


husband, might in some instances have been un- 
kind to the lady, yet she ought not presently to 
sue for a divorce, the rather because she has very 
much mended her fortunes by this match. The 
Union is a contract, than which nothing can be 
more binding." 

To this the Earl of Islay answered : " If the 
Union had the same sanctity as marriage, which 
is an ordinance of God, I should be for observing 
it as religiously as that, but I think there is a 
great difference." 

Peterborough replied : " I cannot tell how it 
could have been more solemn than it is, except 
you expect it should have come down from 
Heaven like the Ten Commandments." In con- 
clusion he said, " The Scots can never be satis- 
fied. They would have all the advantages of 
being united to England, but would pay nothing 
by their good will; and they have had more 
money from England than the value of all their 
estates in their own country put together." The 
object of the concluding sentence was purely to 
annoy his quondam friend the Duke of Argyle ; 
in this he thoroughly succeeded. 


Later in the year Peterborough threw himself 
into the stormy discussions brought on in the 
House of Lords by Lord Wharton moving an 
address to the crown, " That Her Majesty should 
use her utmost endeavours with the Duke of 
Lorraine, and with all other princes and states 
at amity with her, that they would not receive or 
suffer the Pretender to her crown to continue 
in any part of their dominions." This address, 
although" made the vehicle of a bitter and sarcastic 
attack upon the ministry, was in itself so popular, 
that no one opposed it except Lord Grey and 
North, who, influenced by strong Jacobite 
feelings, started objections to the proposal : 
" Where," asked he, " would you have that 
person reside ? since most, if not all, the powers 
of Europe are in amity with the Queen." To 
this Peterborough retorted : "As he (the Pre- 
tender) began his studies at Paris, the fittest 
place for him to improve himself is Rome." In a 
debate that soon after followed, however, Peter- 
borough seems to have abated somewhat in his 
zeal for pressing the Tories to measures of 

M 4 


severity against the Pretender. Whether his 
opinions really underwent a change or no, remains 
uncertain; but it is quite certain that, on the 
4th of August, he had the honour of being 
installed at Windsor, Knight Commander of the 
most noble Order of the Garter, and that in the 
November of the same year, he was appointed 
Ambassador Extraordinary to the King of Sicily, 
on a mission of congratulation, and to negotiate 
affairs with other Italian Princes. 

But the same mistrust of his discretion still 
continued in the minds of the ministry, as the 
following extract from a letter of Lord Boling- 
broke to Mr. Secretary Bromley will shew : 
He speaks of some additional instructions sent 
to the Earl, and continues : " You will be so 
good as to observe to the Queen, that it is (I 
humbly think) more for her Majesty's service to 
tie his Lordship down by instructions to the 
points he shall meddle with, in his passage through 
France, than to have him at liberty to entertain 
the French ministers and himself with a variety 
of schemes, which at best would make them 


imagine our councils here very uncertain, and 
which might perhaps start some new proposition 
not agreeable to the Queen, or easy to evade." 
Further, in speaking of the Elector of Bavaria's 
claims upon Sardinia, he says, " I avoided touching 
upon this point in my Lord Peterborough's 
instructions, not knowing how far the pleasure of 
giving kingdoms might transport his Lordship." 

Peterborough took with him as chaplain and 
secretary on this occasion, Mr. Berkeley, after- 
wards the well-known Bishop. He remained a 
fortnight in Paris on his way, thence went to 
Toulon, where he took ship for Genoa, and 
thence he sailed to Leghorn, where he left his 
chaplain and the greater part of his retinue. At 
Leghorn he embarked in a small Maltese brig for 
Sicily, with only two servants. Having remained 
incognito in that island for a few days, he returned 
to Genoa, and awaited the arrival, from England, 
of a yacht, in which all his equipage was em- 
barked; when it came, he proceeded again to 
Sicily, and made his public appearance in state. 

He wrote home to Lord Oxford a flaming 


account of these journey ings ; the letter was sent 
on to Prior, who wrote back the following 
remarks, not very flattering to the narrator's 
veracity : " Lord Peterborough is gone from 
Genoa in an open boat that's one; 300 miles 
by sea that's two; that he was forced ashore 
twenty times, by tempests and majorkeens, to lie 
among the rocks that's, how many, my Lord 
Treasurer ? " 

In 1714, while abroad, Peterborough was made 
Governor of Minorca, but he never went there ; 
the duties of the office were performed by Colonel 
Kane, the commandant of the troops. The Earl, 
however, though absent, managed to interfere; 
and through a worthless protegee, named La 
Blotiere, contrived to make himself very trouble- 
some. Kane was at length obliged to procure 
authority from the English Government to 
compel La Blotiere to leave the island. 

Peterborough's diplomatic mission was unat- 
tended with results to the public good, except, 
indeed, in the not unimportant one of preventing 
him from embarrassing the ministry, either by his 


opposition, or his still more dangerous support, in 
the House of Lords. However, he was highly 
acceptable to the Duke of Savoy, now King of 
Sicily, who continued in friendship with him to 
the last, and on his departure presented him with 
a valuable watch, in token of remembrance. 

On the 1st of August, 1714, Queen Anne 
died, and with her the hopes of the Tory party. 
Immediately on the arrival, in England, of her 
Majesty's successor, George I., the ministry was 
broken up, and the triumphant Whigs passed 
resolutions of impeachment against Lords Oxford, 
Bolingbroke, and others. In consequence of these 
changes, Peterborough was recalled from his 
ambassadorial employment. In the meantime, he 
had fully discovered the want of confidence with 
which he had been treated, throughout the 
negotiations, concerning the Peace of Utrecht; 
and although it had been so thoroughly deserved, 
he considered himself to be the most injured of 
men. He consequently returned to England, 
full of indignation against his former friends 
Oxford and Bolingbroke. The latter of these 


ex-ministers had withdrawn himself into France, 
and thus avoided the storm that was about to 
burst upon him and his late colleagues. Peter- 
borough, who had lingered some months on the 
homeward journey, met him on the road between 
Paris and Calais, and took this opportunity of 
testifying his anger, by passing him without the 
interchange of a word. 



PETERBOROUGH presented himself at the court 
of St. James the day after his arrival in London ; 
he, however, not only met with a cold reception, 
but received, through Lord Townshend, an order 
forbidding his reappearance at court. The Whigs 
were naturally much exasperated against him, as 
one of their own party, who had abandoned them 
in their utmost need, and aided the triumph of 
their enemies. 

Strange to say, this impatient spirit remained 
a quiet spectator of the stirring events of 1715 ; 
the Scottish rising in favour of the Pretender; 
the hopeless struggle of the chivalrous Earl of 
Derwentwater ; the attainder of the Tory minis- 
try, and the trial of Lord Oxford. Strong as must 
have been his desire to plunge into the confusion, 
his extreme hatred of both parties prevented 
him from taking either side; therefore he re- 


tired to his residence at Parson's Green, and 
sought other excitement in the society of his old 
associates, and, it must again be added, in dissipa- 
tion and amusements, most unsuitable to his age, 
rank, and position. During this time, however, 
he made an acquaintance, which might have 
purified and tranquillised the turbid current of his 
life, had not a mean and false vanity prevented 
him from reaping the benefit which it offered. 

On the 27th of January, 1714, Miss Anastasia 
Robinson first appeared as a dramatic singer, in 
the opera of Creso. She was about the middle 
height ; her figure was graceful, and even elegant. 
Without any pretensions to beauty, there was a 
winning softness in her face, and a gentle modesty 
in her large blue eyes, which left a deep im- 
pression, where the flash of the most brilliant 
beauty had often, perhaps, merely dazzled for a 
moment. She was neither highly intellectual, 
nor was she gifted with remarkable wit ; but her 
mind was well balanced, and carefully cultivated. 
Her manner was singularly engaging, and free 
from affectation ; she excited admiration in many, 


and enmity in none. The purity of her life 
defied scandal, and instead of descending to the 
level of stage life, her excellence of character 
tended to raise the tone of her calling. 

Her father was a portrait painter, who had 
come of a good family in Leicestershire; soon 
after an early marriage, he went to Italy to 
study his art, and remained there for a consider- 
able period, acquiring a knowledge of the lan- 
guage and the music of the country at the same 
time. His wife had died in the meanwhile, 
leaving an only daughter, Anastasia. He then 
married Miss Lane, a Roman Catholic, who bore 
him another daughter, and both were brought up 
in the Romish faith. Anastasia, as she grew up, 
discovered an exquisite taste for music, and a 
promising voice. At that time the portrait 
painter's industry, aided by a small annuity of 
his wife's, enabled him to have his daughter 
instructed in singing as an accomplishment : and 
on her return to England, she took lessons from 
Dr. Crofts, then an eminent teacher, The young 
lady added a worthy industry to her natural 


gifts: she studied carefully to master her art, 
and, at the same time, with her father's assistance, 
she acquired an excellent knowledge of the 
Italian language. 

While yet very young, untoward circumstances 
pushed her accomplishments into practical use; 
the prosperous portrait painter was seized with a 
disorder in his eyes, which rendered him com- 
pletely helpless. There was nothing to save him 
and his family from poverty, but the possibility 
of making available his daughter Anastasia's 
musical talent. In those days, perhaps, even 
more than now, there were grave objections 
obvious to the mind of an attached father, against 
the stage, as a calling for a young and attractive 
girl ; but the stern necessity of the case overcame 
the hesitations which arose in the poor blind 
portrait painter's mind, and, with an anxious 
hope that her life would fulfil the goodly promise 
of her childhood, he resolved that Anastasia should 
appear in public, as soon as she was qualified by 

Sandoni, at that time the most eminent singing 


master in England, was chosen to add the refine- 
ments of high art to the musical talent with 
which nature had gifted her, and which her own 
industry had improved. An opera singer, called 
the Baroness, was her instructress in the dramatic 
branch of her studies. She devoted herself with 
great and successful diligence to the cultivation 
of these advantages, and, from her first public 
effort, took her place in the front rank of the 
musical world. For a long time she confined her 
performances to concerts at the York Buildings, 
and other principal places, where she usually 
accompanied herself upon the harpsichord. Her 
voice was originally a soprano, but it sank, after 
a fit of sickness, to a settled contralto ; its compass 
was extensive; but a slight inaccuracy of tone 
was occasionally perceptible. Her shake was 
somewhat incorrect, and remained so, despite her 
efforts to improve it. 

The portrait painter had educated his daughter 
with great judgment, as well as with watchful 
care. Upon the solid foundation of a pure and 
truthful nature he had reared the graceful fabric 



of a highly cultivated mind. Not only did 
Anastasia Robinson excel in ornamental accom- 
plishments, but also in acquirements of a character 
to command respect, esteem, and affection. Her 
good sense and kindly disposition enabled her to 
pursue her difficult path of life without soiling 
the very hem of her garments, and to obtain 
eminent success without exciting the envious 
hatred of less fortunate rivals. Even among the 
rude voices that discuss, with disdainful interest, 
the powers and attractions of opera queens, her 
name was never mentioned but with some ex- 
pression of deference, as well as of admiration. 
She may be said to have held then much the same 
sort of place in public estimation, as the highly 
gifted and most amiable Swedish lady has held in 
the present day. 

The young singer's success soon placed her 
father in comfortable circumstances. He took a 
good house in Golden Square, then a place of 
considerable pretension ; and, encouraged by the 
support and friendly countenance of several ladies 
of undoubted position, the painter and his daughter 


established weekly concerts and assemblies, in 
the manner of conversazioni. This undertaking 
prospered from the commencement; and their 
assemblies were attended by those of the highest 
social position, and by " all who had any pre- 
tension to politeness and good taste." Among 
the most frequent and least reputable of the 
visitors was the celebrated Earl of Peterborough. 

From the very first this strange being, who 
hitherto, through his wild and daring life, had 
reverenced neither religion, loyalty, nor beauty, 
reverenced the modest singing girl. With her 
the fiery nature, which neither toil nor age could 
tame, was soothed into gentleness. He who, 
with contemptuous disrespect, had sent back un- 
opened the letter of recall, written by the Queen 
of England, bore with patience and humility 
the friendly warnings and reproofs of the poor 
portrait painter's daughter. He lost no oppor- 
tunity of seeking her society, and of securing her 
good opinion by devoted but unobtrusive at- 

Anastasia Robinson achieved complete success 



in her first dramatic appearance ; her second, as 
Ismina, the principal part in the opera of 
Arminio, confirmed her in the position of Prima 
Donna ; a rank which she held almost undisputed 
for nearly ten years. She soon raised her family 
to comparative affluence; the rewards of her 
exertions amounting, it was said, to more than 
20007. a year, a sum in those days rarely gained 
upon the stage. Nevertheless, this life of public 
exhibition was very grievous to her; it was 
totally unsuited to her retiring and timid dis- 
position; but, however much she disliked her 
calling, she never offended others by affecting to 
despise it ; and her irreproachable life and manners 
still clothed her with a dignity, which even the 
flaring vulgarities of the green-room could not 

General Hamilton, a cotemporary of Peter- 
borough's dead sons, was his rival in the affections 
of the portrait painter's daughter : he was one of 
the most admired and agreeable men of his day, 
and also possessed, to a large extent, those 
important advantages, which fortune and family 


confer. His attentions were favourably viewed 
by Anastasia's father, but were looked upon by 
her with suspicion. She was, however, without 
doubt, at first somewhat prepossessed in his 
favour, but this prepossession was not strong 
enough to prevent her from at once excluding 
him from her society, upon discovering that he 
was unworthy of her esteem. 

On the other hand, the brilliant wit and 
world-wide celebrity of Peterborough had also 
attracted her interest, but had not dazzled her 
perception. She could not but be gratified by 
the constant and respectful attention of a man 
who withheld attention and respect from all but 
her; while at the same time his evil reputation 
and irregular life, together with the disparity of 
years and rank, rendered it improbable that his 
attentions should assume a more formal shape. 
This state of things continued for several years, 
until at length Peterborough succeeded in con- 
vincing her and himself of the sincerity of 
his affection. During this time his conduct was, 
however, far from what this amiable woman 


approved; her influence over him was always 
exerted for his good ; and probably there were 
intervals, when that gentle power restrained in 
some degree his usually unbridled life. 

Although excluded from all public employment, 
Peterborough still occasionally took part in the 
politics of the day; he spoke sometimes in the 
House of Lords, and always was listened to with 
mingled curiosity and interest. Invariably, when 
present, he was in the habit of protesting against 
everything he did not like. There was no peer 
of his time, whose name appeared so often as his 
in this peculiar branch of party warfare. 

In the memorable debate upon the Septennial 
Bill, the Earl took a part actively hostile to the 
Ministry. His keen perception showed him at 
a glance the unconstitutional tendency of the 
measure, and he was indisposed to accept the 
exigencies of the government as a sufficient excuse 
for this invasion of the rights of the people. The 
Whigs introduced it as " the bulwark of our 
civil and religious liberties," as the only means of 
securing the Protestant succession; while the 


opponents of the measure denounced it as " the 
most daring abuse of Parliamentary power ever 
known ; " to them the peculiarly obnoxious feature 
was, that the present Parliament thus voted a 
prolongation of its own existence for years, 
against the will of the nation. 

The Duke of Devonshire brought the bill into 
the House of Peers, seconded by Lord Rock- 
ingham, and supported by the Duke of Argyle, 
and other leaders of the Whig party : it was read 
without much discussion. On the motion for the 
committal of the bill by Lord Cowper, on the 
14th of April, the war of party began with 
unusual vehemence and ability. Nearly all the 
leading men on both sides joined in the debate. 
Peterborough was charmed to find this oppor- 
tunity of opposing the Ministry, which had dis- 
placed and slighted him ; and of defending against 
them the fundamental principles of the party, 
which they themselves professed to lead. After 
the debate had continued for some time he was 
challenged to self-defence by a personal allusion 
in the speech of Argyle's brother, Lord Islay, 

N 4 


who shared in the Duke's hostility against him. 
" I take notice," said he, " that hurts are incurred 
since the King's accession; it is chiefly because 
some persons, who have a great opinion of their 
own merit, are not in office." He then vindicated 
the King's administration of patronage, "in 
having rewarded those who, in the worst of times, 
had shown their zeal for his succession, and, 
during the late rebellion, had ventured their lives 
for his majesty's service." 

To this attack of insinuation Peterborough 
made a defensive reply : " Whether in employ- 
ment or no, I have still an entire affection for the 
King, and I wish I could vote for this bill ; but 
I cannot be for a remedy that may cause a 
greater evil. As to what has been suggested in 
favour of those who ventured their lives to serve 
the government," he added, sneeringly, "men 
who do not fight for a cause cannot die for it." 
He concluded by saying, " If this present Parlia- 
ment continue beyond the time for which they 
are chosen, I know not how to express the 
manner of their existence, unless (and he turned 


round to where the Bishops were seated), begging 
leave of that venerable bench, they had recourse 
to the distinction used in the Athanasian Creed, 
for they would be * neither made, nor created, 
but proceeding.' " In spite of all opposition, the 
bill passed by a large majority, twenty Peers 
protesting against it ; but, strange to say, Peter- 
borough was not one of the number. 

In the summer of 1717, Peterborough fell into 
bad health, and readily acceded to the recom- 
mendation of his physicians, that he should seek 
his cure in travel. Accordingly he started for 
Italy through France. His journey continued 
without any event worth recording, till his 
arrival at Bologna, in the Papal States, on the 
llth of September. There, to his inexpressible 
surprise and indignation, he was suddenly arrested 
by two Irish officers, and carried to Fort Urbano, 
where he was put into close confinement. All 
his papers were seized and searched, and he 
himself was also subjected to a close examination. 
The nature of the questions which were asked of 


him at length informed him of the cause of these 
extraordinary proceedings. 

The Pretender was at that time resident at 
Urbano, near Bologna, and Pope Clement XI. 
had just then received false intimation from 
Paris, that the English had laid a plot to take 
the life of the claimant to their throne. In 
consequence the Papal government had issued 
orders that all strangers, especially English, who 
should come to the neighbourhood, should be 
taken up and rigidly examined. Under these 
circumstances, the indignant Earl was kept for 
some days in close confinement, until the sus- 
picions against him were proved to be unfounded. 
He was subsequently released with much apolo- 
getic politeness, the Pope's officers endeavouring 
to excuse themselves by asserting that they had 
not known whom he was. 

George I. perhaps would not have been really 
sorry if the Pope had detained his troublesome 
subject altogether; nevertheless, the insult to 
the nation, in the person of one of her peers, 
could not be tolerated. The King, therefore, 


immediately demanded satisfaction of the Holy 
See, and the answer not being sufficiently prompt 
and conclusive, the British fleet in the Medi- 
terranean was ordered to the coast of the Roman 
States. Upon this the Pope perceived the im- 
propriety of Peterborough's arrest, and wrote to 
" an ally " of Great Britain, in his own hand- 
writing, declaring that his delegate at Bologna 
had acted " violently, unjustly, and without his 
knowledge." The Cardinal Legate, on his part, 
addressed a note to the English Admiral, in 
which he said that he had prayed for pardon from 
the Holy Father, and that he now prayed for it 
from the King of England, for having "incon- 
siderately arrested a Peer of Great Britain while 
travellihg." Immediately on being released from 
durance, Peterborough returned to England to 
push his claim for redress. The excitement of 
the affair appears to have had the same beneficial 
effects as were anticipated from his travels, for 
his health was soon quite restored. 

Peterborough's political position at this time 
was one of complete isolation; he was equally 


distrusted and feared by all parties, and he dis- 
liked and distrusted all parties equally himself. 
He hated the Tories for their policy of passive 
submission, and he hated the Whigs with all the 
bitterness of personal animosity. Although a 
republican at heart, he was a zealous supporter 
of his own privileged order. As is perhaps not 
unfrequently the case with republican theorists, 
he limited the application of his theories of 
equality to impatience of any superiority to him- 
self. He at once came to a stop at any proposi- 
tion which might tend to level his own position 
to that of his inferiors. 

It was in this spirit that he supported a 
measure, introduced by the Duke of Buckingham 
in 1719, to limit the power of the Crown to 
create new Peers, with the professed object of 
upholding the independence of the Upper House. 
This bill was violently opposed in the House of 
Commons by Mr. Walpole, and there thrown out 
through his great ability, although passed by a 
large majority in the House of Lords. He made 
a powerful impression on the public mind by a 


pamphlet, which he then published on this subject, 
called, " Thoughts of a Member of the Lower 
House." In this he urged that the House of 
Lords, if rendered altogether immutable by the 
prohibition to add to their number, would be 
enabled to control the working of the constitution. 
In answer to this, the republican Peterborough 
takes up the pen to defend his order, and treats 
the objections to the bill with great force and 
vivacity. For the first and last time he appears 
as a pamphleteer. It would seem as though he 
were determined to try every occupation of life 
in succession when he cast himself into this new 
arena. He writes in opposition to the arguments 
of Walpole, against the supposed increase of the 
power of the House of Lords : 

"What are the Lords? A few in number, only 
possessed (as one writer has it) of an imaginary dignity; 
they represent nothing but themselves, and so can 
have no addition of strength but from themselves. 
They are in no circumstances which can make them 
popular, but rather remain a mark for envy; the 
greatest part of them are poor, and none of them are 


possessed of dangerous wealth ; they have no holdings 
which procure them dependencies. They are possessed 
of no castles or strong places, nor have they any being 
as to action, but at the power of another. That is, 
when considered as a body, they are dissoluble at 
pleasure. And can there be a description of more 
harmless creatures ? * * * I must have recourse 
to an imagination of the Papists to express my idea of 
the House of Lords in respect to our constitution. 
* * * The House of Lords is only in imagination a 
third estate ; a situation like purgatory, in this, affairs 
pass indeed through that channel, they rest there de- 
posited awhile, but the final direction, and the last 
stroke to all business is given by the solid authority 
or irresistible influences of the Crown, or House of 
Commons. * * * But we are asked, who shall 
oblige these fixt independent Lords to comply with the 
laws f My answer is short : either the King, or the 
House of Commons, the civil officers, the army, or the 

" In my turn let me ask a question. * * * * 
What have they to contend with against all these 
supposed enemies ? They have an empty embroidered 
purse, and a black rod." 

Peterborough was also known, at this time, 
as the author of several small, and certainly 


indifferent, pieces of poetry ; one in " A Letter 
from a Son of Mars to one of Apollo," printed 
long after his death in the Public Register, or 
Weekly Magazine, in 1741, called " La Muse de 
Cavalier ; or an Apology for such Gentlemen as 
make Poetry their Diversion, not their Business." 
Another was " A Copy of Verses on the Duchess 
of Marlborough, addressed to Mr. Harley, after 
his removal from Court." Although his poetic 
muse was not very successful in her flights, it 
must be acknowledged that he is not excelled in 
epistolary correspondence by any of his cotem- 



MEANWHILE Peterborough continued his inti- 
macy with the Robinsons, and his admiration and 
respect for the amiable Anastasia still increased. 
It is said that her performance of Griselda, in 
Bononcini's opera of that name, impressed her 
eccentric lover very deeply, and completed her 
conquest over his vanity, as her attractions and 
virtues had already done over his heart. He at 
length made up his mind to offer marriage to the 
public singer, the portrait painter's daughter; 
and he had the great and undeserved happiness 
of discovering that she was sincerely attached to 
him. Womanlike, she was prepared to make 
every sacrifice that her duty and her honour 
permitted, even for the man who had so long 
hesitated to waive his unworthy vanity for her. 
Even then he had not the courage to declare that 
which was perhaps the wisest and happiest step 


of his life. He was mean enough to use the 
influence, which her regard gave him over her, 
to gain her consent that their marriage should 
remain a secret, " till a more convenient time for 
making it known should arrive." 

Lady Oxford, daughter-in-law of Peterborough's 
former ally, Mr. Harley, attended at the private 
marriage as witness and friend. She had upon 
all occasions shown great esteem and regard for 
Anastasia Robinson, and at this trying time 
proved her sincerity. 

And thus this miserable vanity, which had 
marred his whole career, threw a cloud over a 
union that might have been the source of happi- 
ness, such as his troubled life had never known 
before ; and for years cast pain and doubt upon 
her, whom he had sworn to love, to comfort, and 
to honour. He was not insensible to the folly, 
as well as the meanness and cruelty of his own 
conduct ; and by a just retribution, the constantly 
recurring annoyances, which their doubtful posi- 
tion with regard to each other caused, were keenly 
felt by him. 



For some time after her marriage, Anastasia 
remained upon the stage, until, in 1723, a cir- 
cumstance occurred, which resulted in her com- 
plete retirement into private life. Peterborough 
frequently attended her to the theatre, and from 
their evident intimacy, and from his peculiar 
reputation, the voice of scandal at length began 
to assail the hitherto irreproachable lady. On 
one occasion, at a morning rehearsal, Senesino, 
a contralto singer, with whom she was acting, 
offered her an insult, which, perhaps, her doubtful 
position to a certain extent induced. She indig- 
nantly complained of the injury to Peterborough, 
who chanced to be in attendance : his rage knew 
no bounds; he seized the unhappy delinquent, 
dragged him behind the scenes, where he publicly 
and violently caned him, as long as he was able. 
He then compelled him, on his knees, to beg the 
offended lady's pardon. 

This affair caused a great sensation, and not 
only confirmed the unfavourable reports with 
regard to Miss Anastasia Eobinson, but gave 
employment to all the satirical wit of London. 


Lady Mary Wortley Montague, who had a spite 
against Peterborough, for refusing to take her 
part in a quarrel with Pope, relates the story 
with malicious glee, and mendaciously adds, that 
" my lady miscarried " from the agitation of the 
scene. Lord Stanhope, with whom the Earl had 
never been reconciled, since their dispute in Spain, 
had the temerity to make "the old Don Quixote" 
of the affair the subject of some jokes more witty 
than prudent, and was immediately challenged in 
consequence, Lord Delaware being Peterborough's 
second. This mischievous folly was, however, for- 
tunately discovered in time; the noble quarrellers 
were put under arrest, and the silly affair blew 
over without bloodshed. 

About this time Mr. Robinson died : Anastasia 
then removed with her mother to a house which 
Peterborough took for them at Fulham, near his 
own villa at Parson's Green. They had separate 
establishments, and at that time never lived 
under the same roof: Anastasia's half-sister, 
Margaret, also a very attractive and accomplished 

o 2 


woman, was just then married to a brother of the 
well-known Dr. Arbuthnott. 

She was destined to be a miniature painter by 
her father, but always shewed a marked distaste 
for the art, and could not fix her attention upon 
it. Her sole delight was in music; she sang 
brilliantly, and with more correctness than her 
elder sister. She soon devoted herself to this 
more congenial pursuit; Bononcini was her in- 
structor for some time in London, and she went 
to Paris to complete her artistic education. 
There were, however, two insurmountable draw- 
backs to her success as a public singer : the first, 
a nervous bashfulness, which destroyed all her 
self-command when endeavouring to exhibit ; and, 
secondly, her figure was very diminutive, far 
below the ordinary height of women. 

Peterborough's marriage made little change in 
his outward life. He still lived much in the so- 
ciety of those who suited his taste, and who would 
bear with the uncontrollable violence of his 
temper, and the great eccentricity of his conduct. 
His principal friends were still Swift and Pope, 


the latter of whom Lady Wortley Montague 
accuses of having courted him, and several other 
old men whom she names, in the hope of being 
left legacies. Peterborough had very little to 
leave. His extravagance at all times, but especially 
his magnificence in Spain, and in his continental 
embassies, had materially diminished a property, 
which had never been very considerable. Years 
before this, the spiteful Duchess of Marlborough 
described him as having " wasted his fortune, and 
worn out his credit." He certainly never sought 
to replenish them at the public expense. 

Although now not far from three-score years 
of age, his strange vivacity continued undi- 
minished. At times he astonished London with 
acts of eccentricity bordering upon insanity; in 
word and deed he was reckless of all consequences. 
Had not he been, to a great extent, a privileged 
person from his well-known oddities, he would, 
without doubt, have met with some fatal check, 
in those days, when the laws of polite society 
were written in blood. One day that he was 
passing through the Strand in his coach, he saw 


a player in full court dress, with white silk 
stockings, picking his way carefully through the 
street, which chanced to be unusually dirty. 
Peterborough was seized with an irresistible 
desire for mischief; he jumped from his coach, 
drew his sword, rushed violently at the poor 
player, who immediately took to flight in the 
greatest alarm, and utterly regardless of his white 
silk stockings. His relentless assailant followed 
with determined pertinacity, pricking him behind 
with his sword, and forcing him through the 
filthiest part of the streets, till the unhappy man 
was dabbled with mud, from the powdered wig 
down to the once white silk stockings. Having 
accomplished his purpose, Peterborough returned 
to his coach, reseated himself with great gravity, 
and proceeded on his business. 

He frequently gave dinner-parties at Peter- 
borough House, and sometimes entertained his 
guests with admirable music, in which Bononcini, 
Martini, Greene, and others of the most famous 
performers of the day, assisted Anastasia Robin- 
son. At other times, he amused and delighted 


them by relating his adventures in Spain and 
elsewhere, which, wonderful as they really were, 
lost nothing by his mode of describing them. 
Among other things, he was in the habit of 
stating that, during the War of the Succession, 
he had frequently been in danger of perishing for 
want of food ; and that even when he could get 
it, he was often obliged to cook it himself: he 
thus became a good artist, and, from the force 
of habit, still sometimes dressed his own dinner. 
Certain it was that, until disabled by advancing 
age, he constantly did so. Those who have dined 
with him at Parson's Green, have seen him at 
work in a dress for the purpose, like that of a 
tavern cook : he usually retired from his company 
about an hour before dinner-time, and having de- 
spatched his culinary affairs, would return properly 
dressed to his place among the guests, and asto- 
nish them by his wit and varied information. 

Towards the close of George I.'s reign, the 
state of society in England was perhaps at 
the very lowest. Corruption, profligacy, con- 
tempt for all religion, and even for all principle, 

o 4 


had become frightfully general among the rich, 
and vice, debauchery, and discontent among the 
poor. The extravagant expectations of the nation 
from the infamous South Sea scheme, con- 
tributed greatly to this condition of things, by 
encouraging a reckless expenditure, and a hither- 
to unknown luxury. Clubs were formed, whose 
only object was the encouragement of blasphemy, 
to which the sole ground and qualification for 
admission was eminence in crime. Many men of 
high rank and considerable ability united them- 
selves in one of these societies, which transcended 
all others in the atrocity of its rules and habits. 
The ceremonies of admission were of a nature 
that insanity only could excuse. They included 
vows against every principle of virtue and pro- 
priety, and a formal defiance of the power of 
Heaven. The appropriate name it assumed was 
the "Hell-fire Club." With this diabolical 
society public rumour strongly connected the 
name of the witty and gifted, but profligate 
Duke of Wharton. 

In 1721, these evils had risen to such a height, 


that they became the subject of consideration in 
the national legislature, The Earl of Nottingham 
complained in the House of Lords of " the growth 
of atheism, profaneness, and immorality." A 
bill was brought in shortly afterwards by the 
Lord Willoughby de Broke, Dean of Windsor, 
ostensibly directed against these monstrous evils, 
but in reality to restrain the liberty of conscience 
lately conceded to the non-conformists. It met 
with strong episcopal support, and also with 
violent opposition from those who " had con- 
sciences that loved liberty, and those who had no 
consciences at all." The bill proposed to render 
it penal to speak against the Thirty-nine Articles. 
The motion for committal of the bill was made 
by the Archbishop of Canterbury ; Lord Onslow 
called it " a bill for persecution," and, although 
claiming to be a sincere churchman, moved that 
it should be thrown out. Lord Trevor argued 
for the measure with more zeal than judgment, 
concluding by saying, " I verily believe that the 
present calamity, occasioned by the South Sea 
project, is a judgment of God on the blasphemy 


and profaneness of the nation.'' To which Lord 
Onslow retorted, " The noble peer who has just 
spoken must then be a great sinner, for he has 
lost considerably by this South Sea scheme." 
The Duke of Wharton followed, against the bill : 
" I am not insensible of the common talk and 
opinion of the town concerning myself, and am 
therefore glad of this opportunity of justifying 
myself, by declaring that I am far from being 
a patron of blasphemy, or any enemy to religion ; 
but, on the other hand, I cannot be in favour of 
this bill, because I believe it to be repugnant to 
the Holy Scripture." Then, taking an old family 
Bible out of his pocket, he quoted and read several 
chapters of the Epistles of St. Peter and St. Paul, 
to the great astonishment of the House. 

One of the principal lay supporters of the bill 
was the Lord Bathurst, to whom the two well- 
known satirical lines from Gay's fables were 
applied : 

" Shall grave and formal pass for wise, 
When men the solemn owl despise ? " 

But by far the most powerful opponent of the 


measure was Peterborough. He had a bitter 
hatred of intolerance in every form, but especially 
when spurred on by the bench of Bishops. 
" Although I am for a Parliamentary king," said 
he, " I have no desire for a Parliamentary God, 
or a Parliamentary religion : and if the House be 
for such an one, I shall go to Rome, and endeavour 
to be chosen a Cardinal; for I should rather sit 
in the Conclave, than with your Lordships on 
these terms." After a vehement debate, the 
opponents of the bill carried their point by a 
considerable majority. 

On the death of the great Duke of Marlborough 
in 1722, Peterborough sank the enmity of years, 
and attended at the funeral as one of ten assistants 
to the chief mourners, all of whom, except the 
Duke of Montrose, were Knights of the Garter, 
and wore the collars and stars of their " most 
noble" order. The pomp and magnificence of 
these obsequies were said never to have had a 
parallel in England. The bad taste and incon- 
gruity of the arrangements were not less singular. 
On the 25th of May of this year, Peterborough 


was appointed general of marines, a highly appro- 
priate appointment for one so distinguished as he 
had been, both by land and sea. This rank was 
bestowed upon him solely on account of his war 
services; for he remained in the cold shade of 
political opposition during the whole of this 

Peterborough was, however, seized with a 
strong fit of Hanoverian loyalty in the following 
year, upon the introduction of the Bill of Pains 
and Penalties against Dr. Atterbury, Bishop of 
Rochester, in the House of Lords. In this case, 
hatred of the Stuart race and of the Eoman 
Catholic religion impelled him to join heartily in 
the persecution which ended by the deprivation 
and banishment of that prelate in the month of 
May, by votes of both Houses. The learned and 
able physician, Dr. Friend, who had accompanied 
Peterborough in the Spanish campaign, and con- 
tributed so largely to the removal of the imputa- 
tions which had been brought against the Earl, 
being a member at this time of the Lower House, 


took an active part in the bishop's defence. The 
only reward he received for his exertions, beyond 
that which his own conscience doubtless gave, 
was, that he was seized on suspicion of treason 
and sent to prison. 

Peterborough's friend Pope, who was then 
living with him at Fulham, took a different view 
of the bishop's case from that of his host, and 
writes to Dean Swift in lamentation over the 
condition of things: "It is sure very ill fate 
that all those I most loved, and with whom I 
most lived, must be banished. Sure this is a 
nation that is cursedly afraid of too much polite- 
ness, and cannot regain one great genius but at 
the expense of another." (Lord Bolingbroke had 
just then returned from exile, and Dr. Atterbury 
had been banished.) " I tremble for my Lord 
Peterborough, whom I now lodge with. He has 
too much wit as well as courage to make a solid 
general; and if he escapes being banished by 
others, I fear he will banish himself." 

It was in allusion to this period of their life 


that Pope writes, in his "Imitations of Ho- 

" He whose light'ning pierced the Iberian lines, 
Now forms my quincunx, and now ranks my vines. 
Or tames the genius of the stubborn plain, 
Almost as quickly as he conquer'd Spain." 

After this, Peterborough again went abroad 
and continued wandering for some time. " Lord 
Peterborough can go to any climate," writes 
Dean Swift, " but can never stay in any." 

Meanwhile his amiable wife remained in per- 
fect seclusion, except for the visits of Lady Ox- 
ford and a few other intimate friends. Her lot 
in life was one of severe trial. Peterborough's 
violent temper and insane vanity kept up a con- 
stant irritation, which required all the excellence 
of her gentle disposition to endure. To a person 
of her quiet habits, and delicacy of thought 
and feelings, this reckless man must have been, 
as a contemporary describes him, " a very aweful 

Peterborough next appeared upon the political 
stage in 1727. He took an active part in the 


debate upon the King's Speech in January of that 
year, when the dangerous position of His Ma- 
jesty's German dominions was under the consi- 
deration of the House of Lords. Several peers, 
headed by Lord Bathurst, strongly opposed such 
preparations as might give offence to the emperor 
and the King of Spain, and which he argued were 
an unnecessary expense and evil to the country, 
already grievously overburdened. From these 
views Peterborough strongly dissented. "Let 
our circumstances be what they may, we ought 
to exert ourselves for the honour and dignity of 
the Crown, and defend the just rights and privi- 
leges of the nation." 

The death of George I. in the course of this 
year made no difference in Peterborough's poli- 
tical isolation ; but the approaching ceremonies of 
the coronation gave him an opportunity of exer- 
cising his wit. Being asked one day by a French- 
man whether these ceremonies were to take 
place, " Sacre-t-on les rois chez vous, milord?" 
" Oui," replied he, " on les sacre, et on les mas- 
sacre aussi" 



THE accession of George II. will be a fitting op- 
portunity of introducing a strange episode in 
Peterborough's strange life. For four or five 
years he had been carrying on a correspondence 
with Mrs. Howard, afterwards Countess of Suf- 
folk, who was at this time in the highest good 
graces of the new sovereign. To this fair lady 
Peterborough vowed devoted attachment, she 
being at the time both under the care of her 
husband, and in the gracious favour of the King. 
She was forty years of age, and her new lover, 
who was between sixty and seventy at the time, 
a married man, and a grandfather of twenty years' 

His acquaintance with the object of his absurd 
adoration began in 1717, shortly after the marriage 
of his nephew, young Mordaunt, with the widow 
of the unfortunate Lord Mohun, who was a great 
friend of Mrs. Howard. The correspondence 


continued many years ; the date of the commence- 
ment is not known, but it only ended with his 
death, and was incredibly ridiculous throughout. 

The following description of Mrs. Howard gives 
her in complete picture : 

" She is made up of negatives, and has not character 
enough to say a downright No. A tall and fine 
figure in a green taffety dress, set off with rose- 
coloured ribands ; fair hair and skin ; a white muslin 
apron, trimmed with delicate lace, ruffles of same ; a 
white and rounded arm. A chip hat with flowers, 
placed quite at the back of the light hair, which 
leaves the white broad forehead exposed. 

"When she and her husband were staying at 
Hanover, they asked some people to dinner, and 
Mrs. Howard was obliged to cut off her hair and sell 
it to pay for the said dinner. Her features are 
regular ; her eyes a soft blue. She is singularly young 
looking ; she is incapable of the keen feeling and 
passionate sorrow which mark the brow with lines, 
and fade the cheek. The only expression of her face 
is a sweet and gentle repose. An attachment to her 
would be only an agreeable and easy habit. She is 
the type of a social system whose morality is ex- 
pediency, and whose religion is good breeding. In 



such an atmosphere it is scarcely possible for a gene- 
rous sympathy or a warm emotion to exist." 

Swift writes of her : 

" I shall say nothing of her wit or beauty, which 
are freely allowed by all persons of taste and eyes 
who know her : for beauty being transient, and a 
trifle, cannot justly make part of a character intended 
to last ; and I leave others to celebrate her wit, 
because it will be of little use in the light I design 
to show her. 

" There is no politician more dextrous in adapting 
themselves, or in unapparently gaining information. 
Sir Robert Walpole and she both think they under- 
stand each other, and are both of them mistaken. She 
has great interest at Court, but uses it parsimoniously 
and interestedly. She sometimes is deceived when 
she thinks she deceives. In all affairs of life, 
except that of a courtier, she acts with justice, gene- 
rosity, and truth. Even as a courtier, she will only 
do hurt when it is deserved. If she had never seen a 
court, it is possible she might have been a friend. 
She is rather latitudinarian in religion. She is, upon 
the whole, an excellent companion for men of the best 
accomplishments who have nothing to ask." 

On the 10th of August, 1723, Mrs. Howard 
wrote to Gay the poet, entreating his further 

GAY. 21 1 

assistance in carrying on a correspondence " with 
a man of wit," and alluding to assistance already 
received. From the manner in which the request 
is made, it would appear that she considered that 
the poet would be in considerable danger, if his 
interference were discovered by her fiery old 
admirer. She treats her conquest half as a 
source of pride and half as a matter of fun ; but 
she certainly valued Peterborough's letters very 
highly, and preserved them with great care, 
although they appear little deserving of Horace 
Walpole's praise for " careless wit and negligent 
grace." They are unworthy of his peculiar re- 
putation, and in the stupidest style of formality* 
Had there been only one or two of these letters, 
it might have been supposed that they were 
written in burlesque of the then existing style 
of exaggeration ; but as they were upwards of 
forty in number, and extended over so many 
years, there is no doubt of their having been as 
much in earnest as they were ridiculous. Poor 
Mrs. Howard, even with Gay's assistance, found 
it very difficult to keep up the shuttlecock of 

p 2 


nonsense. Peterborough's letters were written in 
a beautiful band, with a neatness and accuracy 
of orthography and punctuation unusual at that 
day, and as little characteristic of the fiery and 
irregular temper of the writer, as of the style and 

Peterborough first assails Mrs. Howard in 
rhyme. The following verses of his composition 
were " much admired " and " well known " in 
those days, which speaks little for the poetical 
taste of the age. Walpole considers them and 
a few other, even inferior, verses, a sufficient 
claim for Peterborough to be included among his 
*' royal and noble authors," and says, that the life 
of the Earl of Peterborough and Lord Capel, in 
the second edition of his work, cost him more 
trouble than all the rest put together. 


" I said to my heart, between sleeping and waking, 
' Thou wild thing, that always art leaping or aching, 

What black, brown, or fair, in what clime, in what 

By turns has not brought thee a pit-a-patation ?' 



" Thus accused, the wild thing gave this sober reply. 
' See, the heart without motion though Celia pass'd 


Not the beauty she has, not the wit that she borrows, 
Give the eye any joys, or the heart any sorrows. 


" When our Sappho appears, she whose wit so 


I am forced to applaud with the rest of mankind 
Whatever she says, is with spirit and fire ; 
Every word I attend but I only admire. 


" Prudentia as vainly would put in her claim, 
Ever gazing on heaven, though man is her aim : 
'Tis love, not devotion, that turns up her eyes 
Those stars of this world are too good for the skies. 


" But Chloe so lively, so easy, so fair, 
Her wit so genteel, without art, without care, 
When she comes in my way -the motion, the pain, 
The leapings and achings, return all again. 

t 3 



" Oh ! wonderful creature, a woman of reason ! 
Never grave out of pride, never gay out of season. 
When so easy to guess who this angel may be, 
Would one think Mrs. Howard ne'er dreamt it was 
she ? " 

The extant correspondence commences with the 
following effusion from him : 

From Lord Peterborough. 

" As I can as well live without meat and sleep, as 
without thinking of her who has possession of my 
soul, so, to find some relief, in never having any con- 
versation with this adored lady, I have been forced, 
when alone, to make many a dialogue between her 
and myself; but, alas! madam, the conclusions are 
always in her favour, and I am often most cruelly 
condemned by myself nay more, her indifference, 
and almost all her rigor, are approved. 

" Permit me to give you an account of my last duet 
without my partner ; and as, by the original articles of 
our scribbling treaty, you were sincerely to tell me 
your opinion, so remember your long silence, and give 
an answer to this. 

" On my part I was representing to her the violence, 
the sincerity of my passion ; but what I most insisted 


on was, that, in most circumstances, it was different 
from that of other men. It is true, I confessed, with 
common lovers, she was the person that I wished 
should grant; but with this addition, that she was 
the only woman that I could allow to refuse. In a 
word, I am resolved, nay content, to be only hers, though 
it may be impossible she should ever be mine. 

" To bear injuries or miseries insensibly were a 
vain pretence not to resent, not to feel, is impossible; 
but, when I dare venture to think she is unjust or 
cruel, my revenge falls upon all of her sex but herself. 
I hate, detest, and renounce all other creatures in 
hoop-petticoats, and, by a strange weakness, can only 
wish well to her who has the power and will to 
make me miserable. 

" Commonly, lovers are animated by the gay look, 
the blooming cheek, and the red lips of the mistress ; 
but, heavens ! what do I feel when I see anguish and 
paleness invade that charming face ? My soul is in a 
mutiny against those powers that suffer it, and my 
heart perfectly melts away in tenderness. But for 
whom have I such concern ? For that dear lady, 
who hardly thinks of me, or scarce regretteth she 
makes me wretched. 

" But, alas ! it was in this last dialogue I found my 
misery complete ; for, you must know, the lady had 
listened with some attention mercy was in her looks, 

v 4 


softness in her words, and gentleness in all her air : 
'.Were this all true,' she asked, 'what could you 
expect ? What do you think your due ? ' 

"Never was poor mortal so dismayed. Though 
she was absent, I had not the courage to make one 
imaginary request : had she been present, I could only 
have expressed my wishes in a trembling look. Oh 
wretched prodigality, where one gives all and dares 
demand no return ! Oh unfortunate avarice, which 
covets all, and can merit nothing ! Oh cruel ambi- 
tion, which can be satisfied with nothing less than 
what no man can deserve ! 

" It was long before I could recover from the terror 
and amaze into which I had thrown myself. At last 
I ventured to make this answer: 'If what I may 
pretend to be less than love, surely it is something 
more than common friendship.'" 

Mrs. Howard's answer. 

"I do not know whether your Lordship expects I 
should answer every letter you write in exact time 
and form, in order to provoke you to write another. 
If you do, I fancy your last was an artifice to draw 
me into declaring my sentiments on the subject of love 
first, which I think a little unfair for the most that 
is expected from a woman is to be upon the defensive. 
Suppose I should declare my sentiments first : your 


Lordship, who has been so conversant with our sex 
might very civilly imagine, that I hated contradiction ; 
you might be biassed to think my notions pretty 
enough for a woman ; and your complaisance might 
draw you in unawares to flatter my understanding, by 
agreeing to everything I said. What should I get by 
all this ? Only the pleasure of hearing myself talk : and 
I fancy the women that have been treated in this well- 
bred manner all their lives, have that pleasure wholly 
confined to their own dear selves ; and I look upon 
this as the reason why women generally talk more 
than men : they are seldom contradicted, and, conse- 
quently, they think themselves oftener in the right. 
Not that I would have your Lordship imagine that I 
love contradiction, in order to support a dispute : no, 
the conversation that pleases me is, when a person (if 
such a person can be found) will think freely before 
me, and speak what he thinks ; rather than the 
common way of playing off sentiments, to show what 
can be said, and not what he himself thinks right. 

" I grant, my Lord, we can expect this sort of treat- 
ment from none but friends or lovers, and none but 
friends and lovers deserve it; but he that is sincere is 
never upon his guard, and cannot do otherwise." 

To this lamentably dull production Lord Pe- 
terborough returns answer in a letter of equal 


dulness, from which the following extracts are the 
most characteristic of the writer : 

" If condemned to be a woman's slave, may it be to 
one nobly maintaining her own liberty : if I were to 
receive any favour, let it be from one who knows how 
to grant, and when to refuse whose compliments are 
not alike to every one. Oh, the merit of the least 
favour which is particular ; and how little merit in an 
undistinguished all ! 

" A lady guarded with wit and beauty keeps man 
and woman at what distance she pleases. Learn this 
from one not wholly ignorant of nature : wit, beauty, 
and youth may be resisted ; but with wit and beauty, 
believe her sincere, the creature becomes divine and 

Mrs. Howard's answer is only interesting in 
the following paragraphs, which throw some fur- 
ther light upon the nature of this ridiculous cor- 

" The woman that is civil and obliging to every 
one, giveth signal proof of her courage ; for she that 
trusts every man's vanity, runs greater risks than she 
that trusts one man's honour. 

" Your Lordship's caution about not showing your 


letter I shall sacredly observe, lest I give any person 
occasion to censure your Lordship of flattery, and 
myself of credulity." 

In spite of the "rapport" indicated in Mrs. 
Howard's last sentence, the elderly lover did not 
feel quite satisfied with the progress of his suit ; 
he writes in answer : 

"I am sorry to find by your letter, that I am 
under the fatal necessity of never pleasing ladies ; or 
rather that I must despair of ever pleasing one of 
your sex, though I should confine my ambition to the 
service of the one individual person I might have a 
mind to please. 

" I have been under so long a habit of sincerity, 
and am so ignorant of all false arts, that my condition 
is desperate. Were I to assume the arts of a modern 
gallant, I should act the part very ill, and spoil all 
with an out-of-fashion sincerity. 

" You make use of a very powerful word in the 
conclusion of your letter, sacredly? I return you 
the strongest expression I can use, upon my honour. 
I shall certainly do as you say you do upon the same 
occasion, were it only for this reason, that I can never 
be more in the right than when I follow your ex- 


Mrs. Howard responds, bantering her Amadis 
with ponderous playfulness on his professions of 
sincerity; the last paragraph will probably be 
enough, even for those who are most fond of 
love-letters : 

" If all I have said cannot prevail upon you to think 
me entirely sincere, yet I beg you at least to half 
believe me, when, while I accuse all the rest of the 
world, I except your lordship and myself." 

In the next letter the venerable lover attempts 
a description of the nature of his passion for his 
" Amoret" as he calls her: 

" I have found love in so many disguises and false 
appearances in others, and even in myself, that I 
thought the true passion indiscoverable, and impossible 
to be described; but what I pretend to represent I 
have so perfectly felt, that metbinks I should be the 
better able to express it. 

" The beginnings of this passion, whether true or 
false, are pleasing ; but if true, the progress is through 
mountains and rocks : the unhappy traveller goes 
through rugged ways, and, what is most cruel, he is 
walking in the dark on the edge of precipices; he 
labours under a thousand difficulties success must 
cost him dear, and then, alas ! the acquisition is 


" The greatest hardship is this : we seem bound to 
the same port ; we sail in treacherous seas in quest of 
a woman's heart, but without a compass ; there is no 
beaten path or common road ; as many objects, so 
many humours ; what prevails with one may displease 
the other, in this fantastic pilgrimage of love. He 
that goes out of the way may soonest arrive at his 
journey's end, and the bold have better success than 
the faithful, the fool than the wise." 

Poor Mrs. Howard must have been sadly- 
puzzled to answer this solemn nonsense: it is 
difficult to comprehend her object in committing 
herself to such a ridiculous correspondence ; but 
her vanity was doubtless gratified by being the 
heroine, even of a farce, with so distinguished a 
hero. In the continuation of the above letter 
Lord Peterborough proceeds to illustrate his 
subject with a warmth and breadth of colouring 
more suited to the style of the last than of the 
present century : to this the coy lady of forty 
answers with playful discreetness : 

" Every one that loves thinks his own mistress an 
Amoret ; and, therefore, ask any lover who and what 


Amoret is, he will describe his own mistress as she 
appears to himself ; but the common practice of men 
of gallantry is, to make an Amoret of every lady they 
write to. And, my lord, after you have summed up 
all the fine qualities necessary to make an Amoret, I 
am under some apprehensions you will conclude with 
a compliment, by saying, I am she." 

Lord Peterborough's reply is a pathetic re- 
monstrance to the fair trifler : 

" It is only in the nature of devils to love deceit 
and the torment of fellow-creatures ; and ought a lady 
to entice an honest heart only that her equipage of 
lovers may be more complete?" 

But prose is insufficient to convey his despairing 
tenderness ; he tries poetry : 

" Lovers are mute if silent looks can't speak 
In words, alas ! our thoughts we dare not break ; 
The trembling tongue begs of the suppliant eye 
To tell the tale of silent misery." 

He proceeds with a regretful eulogium upon 
the manner in which the Spanish ladies under- 
stood the noble sentiments of love, as compared 
with their English sisters. Mrs. Howard, some- 


what piqued at the unfavourable comparison, 
declares that 

" The civilities of the Spanish ladies are like those 
of shopkeepers, to encourage a multitude of cus- 

She concludes her letter by explaining her (the 
English) idea of love : 

" That caution, that awe, that reserved respect, that 
fear of offence, are the strongest declarations of love. 
I think a woman has reason to suspect a person that 
has it in his power abruptly to declare his passion. 
Love discloses itself without design, and by such im- 
perceptible degrees, that I believe it is generally very 
difficult to determine which of the lovers made the 
first declaration." 

In Peterborough's answer he makes a statement 
at the first part of which the reader will probably 
not be surprised : "I feel myself the greatest 
fool in nature near the woman in the world who 
has the most wit," and then despairingly pro- 
ceeds : 

" What I have lost, I know ; in a word, all satis- 
faction, and my quiet; and I remain tasteless to all 
pleasures, and to all of your sex but one. 


" Laws, rules, reason, whither are you fled ? Too 
true, all are neglected and lost for the sake of one. 
Curiosity has no power, revenge no taste, ambition no 
attraction. There seem but two ideas left in nature, 
to love, and to obey. I fly from danger for a little 
time by absolute necessity ; I fear I should do it by 
choice if I could foresee my fate." 

He concludes by a page of poetry about 
"hugging fatal chains," "transporting fires," 
and all that sort of thing. Mrs. Howard has, it 
appears left two of his letters unanswered, and at 
length apologizes for her delay : 

" Most women speak before they think, and I find 
it necessary to think before I write. You talk of 
flying from dangers ; I cannot think your lordship 
would fly from an imaginary one, who have stood so 
many real ones. I would not have you call it a flight, 
but rather a retreat ; for by your past conduct (if you 
will give me leave to make use of a double entendre), 
I suppose you will rally again." 

Peterborough's answer is dated Amsterdam, 

July 5th, year unknown ; this letter deserves to 

be given at some length, as the very climax of 
the whole absurdity : 


" Change of air, the common remedy, has no effect, 
and flight, the refuge of all who fear, gives me no 
manner of security or ease ; a fair devil haunts me 
wherever I go, though, perhaps, not so malicious as 
the black ones, yet more tormenting. 

" How much more tormenting is the beauteous 
devil than the ugly one! The first I am always 
thinking of; the other comes seldom in my thoughts. 
The terrors of the ugly devil very often diminish 
upon consideration ; but the oppressions of the fair 
one become more intolerable every time she comes 
into my mind. 

" The chief attribute of the devil is tormenting. 
Who could look upon you, and give you that title? 
who can feel what I do, and give you any other ? 

" But, most certainly, I have more to lay to the 
charge of the fair one than can be objected to Satan 
or Beelzebub. We may believe they have only a 
mind to torment because they are tormented ; if they 
endeavour to procure us misery, it is because they are 
in pain : they must be our companions in suffering, 
but my white devil partakes none of my torments. 

" In a word, give me heaven, for it is in your 
power ; or may you have an equal hell ! Judge of 
the disease by the extravagant symptoms : one moment 
I curse you, the next I pray to you. Oh, hear my 
prayers, or I am miserable. 



" Forgive me if I threaten you : take this for a 
proof as well as punishment. If you can prove in- 
human, you shall have reproaches from Moscow, 
China, or the barbarous quarters of Tartary. Believe 
me, for I think I am in earnest ; this I am sure of ; I 
could not endure my ungrateful country but for your 

Mrs. Howard's answer to this is the least 
stupid letter in the correspondence : 

"July 26th. 

" I have carefully perused your lordship's letter 
about your fair devil and your black devil, your hell 
and tortures, your heaven and happiness those 
sublime expressions which gentlemen use in their 
gallantries and distresses. 

"I suppose by your fair devil you mean nothing 
less than an angel. If so, my lord, I beg leave to give 
some reasons why I think a woman is neither like an 
angel nor a devil, and why successful and unhappy 
love does not in the least resemble heaven and hell. It 
is true you may quote ten thousand gallant letters as 
precedents for the use of these love terms, which have 
a mighty captivating sound in the ears of a woman, 
and have been with equal propriety applied to all 
women in all ages. 

" In the first place, my lord, an angel pretends to 


be nothing else but a spirit. If, then, a woman was 
no more than an angel, what could a lover get by the 

" The black devil is a spirit too, but one who has 
lost his beauty and retained his pride. Tell a woman 
this, and try how she likes the simile. 

" The pleasure of an angel is offering praise ; the 
pleasure of a woman is in receiving it. 

" Successful love is very unlike heaven ; because 
you may have success one hour and lose it the next. 
Heaven is unchangeable. Who can say so of love or 
lovers ? 

" In love there are as many heavens as there are 
women ; so that, if a man be so unhappy as to lose 
one heaven, he need not throw himself headlong into 

" This thought might be carried further. But 
perhaps you will ask me, if a woman be like neither 
angel nor devil, what is she like ? I answer, that the 
only thing that is like a woman is another woman. 

" How often has your lordship persuaded foreign 
ladies that nothing but them could make you forsake 
your dear country ? But, at present, I find it is more 
to your purpose to tell me that I am the only woman 
that could prevail with you to stay in your ungrateful 

Q 2 


Peterborough's answer is too dull, long, and 
profane for insertion here ; the last paragraph 
will suffice : 

"But I declare you guilty of the highest mistake 
and heresy in love, if you take from me my dream of 
heaven in you, and think any other woman could with 
reality make me amends." 

Mrs. Howard having replied much as usual, he 
again writes ; and the following occurs, in which 
there is a vein of melancholy sincerity : 

"Fair lady, I have passed my whole life, I may 
almost say, without any purpose to my own advantage. 
In the precepts for love I have exceeded the com- 
mand, for I have loved my neighbours, or some of 
them at least, much better than myself; in which 
number I am sure you might find the white devil. 
Now those that love in this manner have no self- 
interested purpose, so much are they wholly possessed 
with the desire of pleasing her they adore." 

In his next letter he writes in a livelier strain, 
commencing with some verses, which he quotes 
as Pope's, but which are more justly ascribed to 


Parnell ; the authorship is perhaps only negatively 
important to the reputation of either. 

Mrs. Howard complains of having been ill for 
some time, but is now sufficiently recovered to 
write rather a smart answer : 

"Let us leave the goddesses and angels to enjoy 
their heaven in quiet ; for since none of our present 
lovers can bring creditable witnesses that they ever 
saw a goddess or an angel, how can they tell but that 
the comparison may do their ladies an injustice? 

" I think the woman must be still a little Miss in 
her way of thinking, who can be taken with being 
called a goddess or an angel. 

"I have forgot that I am labouring to advise a 
person in matters which he must know much better 
than myself; for I am very certain that no person 
whatever understands a woman, so little as a woman." 

Two or three other dismally dull letters pass 
between them, from which there is nothing worth 
extracting. Again Lord Peterborough writes : 

" Take me, or I shall ramble all my life in restless- 
ness and change. Accept of the libertine for a slave, 
and try how faithfully I can love, honour, and obey. 
As far as I can judge of myself, if you give me leave 


naturally to express my wants and desires, I desire 
nothing more than your esteem, and want nothing but 
your heart." 

She answers banteringly : 

" Consider, my lord, you have but one heart, and 
then consider whether you have a right to dispose of 
it. Is there not a lady in Paris who is convinced that 
nobody has it but herself ? Did you not bequeath it 
to another lady at Turin ? At Venice you disposed 
of it to six or seven, and you again parted with it at 
Naples and in Sicily. 

" I am therefore obliged, my lord, to believe, that 
one who disposes of his heart in so profuse a manner 
is like a juggler, who seems to fling away a piece of 
money, but still has it in his own keeping." 

Peterborough's answer is very characteristic : 

" I give you the preference to all the women in the 
world ; with authority too, since I believe no person 
ever had the opportunity of seeing such variety. 

" I have no knowledge of the lady you begin with. 
I was ever too good an Englishman to submit to a 
French enemy; and were I to offer any thing to a 
lady at Paris, it should be three bottles of champagne, 
and not one heart. 


" At Turin I was so busy in making kings, that I 
had not time to think of ladies ; and was so far from 
making a conveyance, that I know no person there 
ever had the least pretence to me, nor I to them. 

"Venice, indeed, was an idle place, and proper 
enough for an idle engagement ; but alas ! madam, 
hate does not differ more from love than a Venetian 
amusement from an English passion, such a one as 
I feel for you. 

" In truth, you never had in any country, nor could 
have, but one rival ; for in no place I ever found any 
to compare with you but one, and that was an English 
lady, and a wife." 

It is generally believed that this was his own 
unacknowledged wife, Anastasia Robinson. The 
extracts from this correspondence shall conclude 
with a letter in a more reasonable tone, but full 
of bitterness against the Duke of Marlborough, 
and the splendid rewards of Blenheim, as con- 
trasted with the indifference shown to his own 
services : 

" Madam, 

" Some part of my life I have spent in accusations 
of the fair sex. Sometimes women were vain or 
Q 4 


faithless, sometimes too easy, sometimes too cruel, in 
my opinion ; but of late my complaints are all against 
the men. The young appear to me empty disagreeable 
beaux ; and those advanced in years ill-bred, pre- 
suming, and ignorant pretenders, whether they deal 
in gallantry or politics. 

"I have complained sometimes of fate, sometimes 
of you, without considering, I confess, how seldom we 
have just pretences to what we wish for ; but faults 
acknowledged should ever be forgiven. The lady I 
most revere gives perhaps more than I deserve: if 
you honour me with your good opinion, and give me 
sometimes a thought, I acknowledge the favour with 
the utmost gratitude. 

" Ladies and kings have their negative voice ; but 
you would not, nay, some things you could not, deny. 
You may lay constraints upon our words and actions, 
but our thoughts are free : they approach you at the 
greatest distance. I assure you, from the wild ro- 
mantic cottage [Bevis Mount, near Southampton], 
where I pass my time, I should send few of them to 
courts and castles, unless you were in them. 

"My Blenheim would not afford lodgings for two 
maids of honour and their equipage, and yet I cannot 
forbear wishing that you somehow or other could see 
my purchase of fourteen pounds a year. 

" Though you had seen the prodigies of Norfolk th e 


day before [an allusion to Sir Robert Walpole's place, 
Houghton], I should depend upon your partiality to 
Bevis Mount, the noble title of my palace which has 
put the public to no expense. 

" Were it not presuming upon your goodness and 
permission, I should not trouble you with the enclosed. 

" I am, madam, 

" Your most faithful, obedient servant, 



BUT while Peterborough carried on this ridiculous 
correspondence, his affections, if they deserved to 
be so called, were still firmly fixed upon his 
" best friend," his gentle and self-sacrificing wife. 
At one time he was seized with a violent attack 
of illness while at Bevis Mount, to which he al- 
ludes in his last letter to Lady Suffolk. This 
cottage was very small, but beautifully situated, 
overlooking Itchin Ferry, and the Southampton 
Water. On a terrace near at hand, which com- 
mands a view of the sea and of the woods of 
Netley Abbey, there was, a few years since, a 
cenotaph, with a short inscription, to the me- 
mory of the great Earl of Peterborough. In 
his later years, this cottage became his favourite 
residence, and he enlarged it considerably, also 
ornamenting the grounds. At the entrance to 
the lawn he had arranged several guns, and flags, 


and weapons, taken by him in the War of the 
Succession. It is to these that Pope alludes, in 
his first epistle to Lord Bolingbroke, when he 
says that our generals 

" Hang their old trophies o'er the garden gate." 

Pie earnestly solicited his wife to come and 
watch over his sick bed at this place, which, 
however, she with unusual firmness refused, 
unless with the condition that she should be 
allowed to wear her wedding-ring, although she 
did not even then allude to her being publicly 
acknowledged as his wife. He for a while resisted 
this most moderate stipulation for her respect- 
ability ; but finding her inexorable, he at length 
consented. Her attendance upon him was marked 
by the tenderest care ; he rapidly recovered, but 
her devotion injured her health at the time to an 
extent that nearly cost her life. 

And yet even then, he, who was so profusely 
generous of all else that he possessed, could not 
be generous or just enough to sacrifice his miser- 
able and mistaken vanity, by acknowledging this 


exemplary lady as his wife. He who despised all 
constituted authority, and who had never shrunk 
from personal danger, bowed down servilely to a 
false social law, and trembled at the prospect of 
sarcasms, which he thought might follow the act 
of vindication of a fair fame that should have 
been as dear to him as his own. Several of his 
more intimate friends, however, who were in the 
habit of visiting him at Bevis Mount, were aware 
of his being married, and spoke of Anastasia 
Robinson by her rightful name of Lady Peter- 

The Earl had many severe attacks of illness in 
his later years ; but, in spite of them, his wit and 
animation continued to the last. He passed 
most of his time at his Southampton cottage, 
where his garden constituted his chief enjoyment, 
heightened at times by visits from Pope, Swift, 
and others of his friends. He occasionally made 
his appearance at Court, and accomplished several 
short journeys on the Continent, but took no part 
whatever in public affairs. The men with whom, 
and against whom, he had struggled in the 


political arena, had passed away. A new system 
of government had arisen, one to him utterly 
odious, that of venality and corruption. 

The tenor of his thoughts and habits during 
this part of his life may be best learned from the 
following letters, in which his style and power 
bear favourable comparison with those of the 
practised pens of Swift and Pope themselves. The 
latter writes to him, on the 28th of August, 1728 : 

" My Lord, 

" I presume you may before this time be returned 
from the contemplation of many beauties ; animal and 
vegetable in gardens, and possibly some rational in 
ladies, to the better enjoyment of your own at Bevis 
Mount. I hope and believe all you have seen will 
duly contribute to it. I am not so fond of making 
compliments to ladies as I was twenty years ago, or I 
would say there are some very reasonable, and one in 
particular, there. I think you happy, My Lord, in 
being at least half the year almost as much your own 
master as I am mine the whole year ; and with all the 
disadvantageous incumbrance of quality, facts, and 
honour, as mere a gardener, loiterer and labourer, as 
he who never had titles, or from whom they are taken. 
I have an eye, in the last of these glorious appellations, 


to the style of a Lord degraded or attainted: methinks 
they give him a better title than they deprive him of, 
in calling him labourer : agricultura, says Tully, 
proximo, sapientice, which is more than can be said by 
most modern nobility of Grace or Right Honourable, 
which are often proximo, stultitife. The great Turk, 
you know, is often a gardener, or of a meaner trade, 
and are there not, my Lord, some circumstances in 
which you would resemble the great Turk ? The 
two paradises are not ill connected, of gardens and 
gallantry; and some there are (not to name my LordB.), 
who pretend they are both to be had even in this life, 
without turning Mussulmans. We have as little politics 
here within a few miles of the Court (nay perhaps at 
the Court) as you at Southampton, and our ministers 
I dare say have less to do. Our weekly histories are 
only full of the feasts given to the queen and royal 
family by their servants, and the long and laborious 
walks her majesty takes every morning. Yet if the 
grave historians shall hereafter be silent of this year's 
events, the amorous and anecdotical may make pos- 
terity some amends by being furnished with the 
gallantries of the great at home ; and 'tis some comfort 
that if the men of the next age do not read of us, the 
women may. From the time you have been absent, 
I've not been to wait on a certain great man through 
modesty, through illness, and through respect. But 


for my comfort, I fancy that any great man will as 
soon forget one that does him no harm, as he can one 
that has done him any good. 

" Believe me, my Lord, yours, &c." 

From the Earl of Peterborough to A. Pope, Esq. 

" I must confess that in going to Lord Cobham's, I 
was not led by curiosity. I went thither to see what I 
had seen, and what I was sure to like. 

"I had the idea of those gardens so fixt in my 
imagination by many descriptions, that nothing sur- 
prised me ; immensity and Vanburgh appear in the 
whole, and in every part. Your joining in your letter 
animal and vegetable beauty, makes me use this ex- 
pression. I confess the stately Sacharissa at Stow, but 
am content with my little Atnoret.* 

"I thought you indeed more knowing upon the 
subject, and I wonder at your mistake : why will you 
imagine women insensible to praise, much less to 
yours ? I have seen them more than once turn from 
their lover to their flatterer. I am sure the farmeress 
at Bevis f , in the highest mortifications in the middle 
of her Lent, would feel emotions of vanity, if she knew 
you gave her the character of a reasonable woman. 

* A pet name for his favourite Bevis Mount, 
f Lady Peterborough ; her half brother, Mr. Lane, lived there 
in the capacity of his Koman Catholic chaplain. 


" You have been guilty again of another mistake, 
which hindered me showing your letter to a friend : 
when you join two ladies in the same compliment, 
though you gave to both the beauty of Venus and the 
wit of Minerva, you would please neither. If you had 
put me into the Dunciad, I could not have been more 
disposed to criticise your letter. What, Sir do you 
bring it in as a reproach or as a thing uncommon to a 
court, to be without politics? With politics indeed 
the Richlieus and such folk have brought about great 
things in former days : but what are they, Sir, who 
without policy in our times can make ten treaties in a 
year and secure everlasting peace ? 

"I can no longer disagree with you, though in jest. 
Oh how heartily I join with you in your contempt for 
excellency and grace, and in your esteem of that most 
noble title loiterer : if I were a man of many plums, 
and a good heathen, I would dedicate a temple to 
laziness : no man ever could blame my choice of such 
a deity, who considers that when I have been fool 
enough to take pains, I always met with some will 
more able to undo my labours. 

"Yours, &e." 

A. Pope to the Earl of Peterborough. 

" You were in a very polemic humour when you did 
me the honour to answer my last. I always under- 


stood, like a true controvertist, that to answer is only 
to cavil and quarrel : however, I forgive you : you did 
it (as all polemics do) to show your parts. Else was it 
not very vexatious to deny me to commend two women 
at a time ? It is true, my Lord, you know women as 
well as men : but since you certainly love them better, 
why are you so uncharitable in your opinion of them ? 
Surely one lady may allow another to have the thing 
she herself least values, reason, when beauty is uncon- 
tested. Venus herself would allow Minerva to be 
goddess of wit when Paris gave her the apple (as the 
fool herself thought) on a better account. I do say 
that lady P. is a reasonable woman, and I think she 
will not take it amiss, if I obstinately insist upon 
esteeming her, instead of toasting her like a silly 
thing I could name, who is~ the Venus of these days. 
I see you had forgot my letter, or would not let her 
know how much I thought of her in this reasonable 
way, but I have been kinder to you, and have shown 
your letter to one who would take it candidly. 

"But for God's sake, what have you said about po- 
liticians? you made me a great compliment in the trust 
you reposed in my prudence, or what mischief might 
I not have done you with some that affect that deter- 
mination ? Your Lordship might have spoken of heroes. 
What a bluster would the God of the winds have made, 
had one that we know puffed against Eolus, or (like 



Xerxes) whipped the seas? They had dialogued it in 
the language of the Kehearsal : 

' I'll give him flash for flash, 
I'll give him dash for dash. 1 

But all now is safe. The poets are preparing songs of 
joy, and halcyon days are the word. 

" I hope, my Lord, it will not be long before your 
dutiful affection brings you to town. I fear it will a 
little raise your envy to 6nd all the Muses employed 
in celebrating a royal work, which your own partiality 
will think injurious to Bevis Mount. But if you have 
any inclination to be even with them, you need but put 
three or four wits into any hole in the garden, and they 
will out-rhyme all Eton and Westminster. I think 
Swift, Gay, and I could undertake it, if you don't think 
our heads too expensive : but the same hand that did 
the others, will do them as cheap. If all else should 
fail, you are sure at least of the head, hand, and heart 
of your servant. 

"Why should you fear any disagreeable news to reach 
us at Mount Bevis ? Do as I do even within ten miles 
of London, let no news whatever come near you. As 
to public affairs, we never knew a deader season. 'Tis 
all silent, deep tranquillity. Indeed, they say 'tis some- 
times so just before an earthquake. But whatever 
happens, cannot we observe the wise neutrality of the 


Dutch, and let all about us fall by the ears ? Or if you, 
my Lord, should be pushed on by any old-fashioned 
notions of honour and romance, and think it necessary 
for the general of marines to be in action, when our 
fleets are in motion, meet them at Spithead, and take 
me along with you. I decline no danger where the 
glory of Great Britain is concerned, and will contribute 
to empty the largest bowl of punch that shall be rigged 
out on such an occasion. Adieu, my Lord, and may as 
many years attend you as may be happy and honour- 

Earl of Peterborough to Pope. 

"You must receive my letters with a just im- 
partiality, and give grains of allowance for a gloomy 
or rainy day : I sink grievously with the weather glass, 
and am quite spiritless when opprest with the thoughts 
of a birth-day or a return. 

" Dutiful affection was bringing me to town, but 
undutiful laziness, and being much out of order, keep 
me in the country ; however, if alive, I must make my 
appearance at the birth-day. Where you showed one 
letter you may show the other ; she that never was 
wanting in any good office in her power, will make a 
proper excuse, when a sin of omission, I fear, is not 
reckoned as a venial sin. 

"I consent you shall call me polemic, or associate 

R 2 


me to any sect or corporation, provided you do not 
join me to the charitable rogues *, or to the pacific 
politicians of the present age. I have read over 
Barkly f in vain, and find after a stroke given on the 
left I cannot offer the right cheek for another blow. 
All I can bring myself to is to bear mortification from 
the fair sex with patience. 

"You seem to think it vexatious that I should allow 
you but one woman at a time, either to praise or love. 
If I dispute with you on this point, I doubt every jury 
will give a verdict against me; so 'tis with a Mahometan 
indulgence, I allow you pluralities, the favourite privi- 
lege of our church. 

" I find you do not mend upon correction. Again I 
tell you, you must not think of women in a reasonable 
way : you know we always make goddesses of those we 
adore upon earth, and do not all the good men tell us, 
we must lay aside reason in what relates to the Deity. 

"'Tis well the poets are preparing songs of joy ; 'tis 
well to lay in antidotes of soft rhyme against the rough 
prose they may chance to meet with at Westminster. 
I should have been glad of anything of Swift's ; pray 
when you write to him next, tell him I expect him 

* The members of the Charitable Association, who had just been 
convicted of gross peculation. 

f Barkly's Apology for the Quakers. 


with impatience, in a place as odd and as much out of 
the way as he is himself. 

"Yours, &c." 

Earl of Peterborough to Pope. 

*' Whenever you apply, as a good papist, to your 
female mediatrix, you are sure of success, but there is 
not a full assurance of your entire submission to Mother 
Church, and that abates a little of your authority. 
However, if you will accept of country letters, she will 
correspond from the haycock, and I will write to you 
upon the side of my wheelbarrow : surely such letters 
might escape examination. 

" Your idea of the golden age is that every shepherd 
might pipe when he pleased. As I have lived longer, 
I am more moderate in my wishes, and would be con- 
tent with the liberty of not piping when I am not 

"Oh how I wish to myself and my friends a freedom 
which fate seldom allows, and which we often refuse 
ourselves! Why is our shepherdess* in voluntary 
slavery ? Why must our Dean submit to the colour 
of his coat, and live apart from us ? And why are 
you confined to what you cannot relieve ? 

" I seldom venture to give accounts of my journeys 

* Mrs. Howard. 


beforehand, because I take resolutions of going to 
London, and keep them no better than quarrelling 
lovers do theirs. But the devil will drive me thither 
about the middle of next month, and I will call upon 
you to be sprinkled with holy water, before I enter 

the place of corruption. 

"Yours, &c." 

Earl of Peterborough to Pope. 

"I am under the greatest impatience to see Dr. 
Swift at Bevis Mount, and must signify my mind to 
him by another hand, it not being permitted me to 
hold correspondence with the said Dean, for no letter 
of mine can come to his hand. 

"And whereas it is apparent, in this Protestant 
land, most especially under the care of Divine Provi- 
dence, that nothing can succeed or come to a happy 
issue but by bribery, therefore, let me know what he 
expects to comply with my desires, and it shall be 
remitted unto him. 

" For though I would not corrupt any man for the 
whole world, yet a benevolence may be given with- 
out any offence to conscience ; every one must 
confess that gratification and corruption are two 
distinct terms ; nay, at worst, many good men hold, 
that for a good end some very naughty measures may 
be made use of. 

" But, Sir, I must give you some good news in rela- 


tion to myself, because I know you wish me well. I 
am cured of some diseases in my old age, which tor- 
mented me very much in my youth. 

" I was possest with violent and uneasy passions, 
such as a peevish concern for truth, and a saucy love 
for my country. 

" When a Christian priest preached against the 
spirit of the Gospel, when an English judge deter- 
mined against Magna Charta, when the minister acted 
against common sense, I used to fret. 

" Now, Sir, let what will happen, I keep myself ^in 
temper : as I have no flattering hopes so I banish all 
useless fears ; but as to the things of this world, I find 
myself in a condition beyond expectation ; it being 
evident from a late parliamentary inquiry* that I 
have as much ready money, as much in the funds, and 
as great a personal estate as Sir Robert Sutton. If 
the translator of Homer find fault with this unheroie 
disposition, or what I more fear, if the Draper of Ire- 
land accuse the Englishman of want of spirit, I silence 
you both with one line out of your own Horace : 

' Quid te exempta juvat spinis e pluribus una ? ' 

For I take the whole to be so corrupted, that a cure in 
any part would be of little avail. 

" Yours, &c." 

* Upon the Charitable Corporation affairs. 
a 4 


Dean Swift to the Earl of Peterborough. 
" My Lord, 

" I never knew or heard of anybody so volatile and 
so fixed as your Lordship. You, while your imagina- 
tion is carrying you through every corner of the 
world, where you have or have not been, can at the 
same time remember to do offices of favour and kind- 
ness to the meanest of your friends ; and in all your 
scenes you have passed have not been able to attain 
that one quality peculiar to a great man, of forgetting 
every thing but injuries. Of this I am a living 
witness against you, for being your most insignificant 
of all your old humble servants, you were so cruel as 
never to give me time to ask a favour, but prevented 
me in doing whatever you thought I desired, or could 
be for my credit or advantage. 

" I have often admired at the capriciousness of For- 
tune, in regard to your Lordship. She has forced 
courts to act against their oldest and most constant 
maxims, to make you a general, because you had 
courage and conduct : an ambassador, because you 
had wisdom and knowledge in the interests of 
Europe ; and an admiral on account of your skill in 
maritime affairs; whereas, according to the usual me- 
thod of court proceedings, I should have been at the 
head of the army, and you of the church, or rather a 
curate under the Dean of St. Patrick's. 


" The Archbishop of Dublin laments that he did 
not see your Lordship till he was just on the point of 
leaving the bath. I pray God you may have found 
success in that journey, else I shall continue to think 
there is a fatality in all your Lordship's undertakings, 
which only terminate in your own honour and the 
good of the public, without the least advantage to your 
health or fortune. 

"I remember Lord Oxford's Ministry used to tell 
me, that not knowing where to write to you, they were 
forced to write at you. It is so with me, for you are 
in one thing an Evangelical man, that you know not 
where to lay your head, and I think you have no 

" Pray, my Lord, write to me, that I may have the 
pleasure in this scoundrel country, of going about and 
showing my depending parsons a letter from the Earl 
of Peterborough. 

" Yours, &c." 

The following letter was in answer to an in- 
quiry after his health, which was then suffering 
severely. The tone is widely different from that 
of many of his former letters to the same person. 


The Earl of Peterborough to Mrs. Howard. 

" October, 1730. 

" I return you a thousand thanks for what you were 
pleased to send me ; the prevailing remedy will be 
your charitable wish. I dare not but recover, if you 
command me to do so ; for in what dare I disobey? 

" It is certain you or none must have the credit of 
my recovery. The doctors have told me mine is an 
inward pain ; if so, I can have no cure from any other 

" You blame me for seeking no remedies, and yet 
you know vain attempts of any kind are ridiculous. 
I have some time since made a bargain with Fate to 
submit with patience to all her freaks : some accidents 
have given me a great contempt, almost a distaste of 
life. Shakspeare shall tell you my opinion of it : 

' Life is as weary as a twice-told tale 
Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man.' 

' Life is a walking shadow a poor player, 
That frets and struts his hour upon the stage, 
And then is seen no more.' 

" Do not wonder then, Mrs. Howard, if the world is 
become so indifferent to me, that I can even amuse 
myself with the thoughts of going out of it." 



IN 1732 he was very near going out of the 
world; a painful and dangerous complaint, to 
which he had been long subject, almost carried 
him off. For some days, indeed, he lay hope- 
lessly at the point of death. But even then, in 
his seventy-fourth year, the indomitable spirit 
triumphed over the withered frame, and for a 
time conquered the disease. He recovered suf- 
ficiently to accompany Pope from Southampton 
to Winchester College on the occasion of the 
annual distribution of prizes. In compliment to 
him the subject for the Prize Poem given by 
Pope was " The Campaign of Valencia." Again, 
however, in 1735, he was attacked by the same 
complaint with increased malignity. 

Peterborough now knew that his hour was 
come. He looked back upon seventy-seven years 
of as strange and varied a life as, perhaps, had 


ever fallen to the lot of man : he looked forward 
to a few days, or weeks, or months of intense 
suffering, and then to a blank for evermore. 

" But his heart was swoll'n and turned aside, 
By deep interminable pride." 

It was only under the influence of an unavoid- 
able necessity that he at last consented to ac- 
knowledge as his wife her, the comfort of his 
declining years, and of whose gifts and virtues 
the proudest might be proud. As a last chance 
for his life, he was ordered to the milder climate 
of Lisbon; his wife's care and society were in- 
dispensable to him, and she was determined not 
to submit to the publicity of travelling with him 
in that dubious position in which the flower of 
her youth had withered away. He still hesitated, 
but she was firm. 

The tardy act of justice was at length per- 
formed in a thoroughly characteristic manner. 
He appointed a day for all his nearest relations 
to meet him at the apartments over the gateway 
in St. James' Palace : these rooms belonged to 


Mr. Pointz, who had married his niece, and who 
at that time was tutor to Prince William, after- 
wards Duke of Cumberland. Anastasia was also 
appointed to be there at the same time, but had 
not the least notion of the scene which her ec- 
centric husband had prepared. When all were 
assembled, Peterborough addressed them with 
an animation worthy of his best days, and with 
deep feeling, worthier than he had ever known 
before. He described a lady who had been gifted 
by Heaven with every virtue and every endear- 
ing quality which woman could possess : of rare 
talents and accomplishments, of exemplary pa- 
tience, of enduring affection, and of spotless 
purity. He described how he owed to her the 
best and happiest hours of his life; how her 
society had been his chiefest blessing in health, 
and how her tender care had been his dearest 
comfort in suffering and sorrow. He confessed 
how his heart through life had done her the jus- 
tice that his weak vanity had refused; how he 
had loved her, and her alone, with true and 
abiding attachment. While he spoke the dying 


man's voice at times rose with energy, at times 
trembled with the deepest pathos, and, as he 
concluded, he took Anastasia by the hand, and 
led her forth among the survivors of his haughty 
race as the woman whom he had attempted to 
describe, who had been for long years "his 
best friend," the wife of his bosom. The strange- 
ness and suddenness of the announcement in- 
stantly overcame her; she fainted in the midst 
of the company, and was carried away insensible. 
After this scene Peterborough returned to 
Bevis Mount to make preparations for his depar- 
ture, and while there wrote to Mrs. Howard, now 
Lady Suffolk, for the last time, in July 1735. 
The quiet submission of this final letter shows a 
touching contrast to the folly which had marked the 
beginning of his correspondence with that lady. 

Lady Suffolk. 

Bevis Mount, July, 1735. 
" Madam, 

"I return you a thousand thanks for your 
obliging inquiry after my health. I struggle on with 
doubtful success : one of my strongest motives to do 


so is, the hopes of seeing you at my cottage before I 
die, when you either go to the bath or to Mrs. 

"In my most uneasy moments, I find amusement 
in a book, which I therefore send you ; [no doubt the 
Life of Julian the Apostate, by the Abbe de la 
Bleterie, published in 1735]; it is one of the most in- 
teresting I ever read. I had gathered to myself some 
notions of the character from pieces of history written 
in both extremes, but I never expected so agreeable 
and fair an account from a priest. In one quarter of 
an hour we love and hate the same person without in- 
constancy. One moment the emperor is in possession 
of our whole heart, and the philosopher fully possessed 
of our soul ; within a quarter of an hour we blush for 
our hero and are ashamed of our philosopher. 

" "What courage, what presence of mind in danger ! 
the first and bravest man in a Roman army ; sharing 
with every soldier the fatigue and danger ! The same 
animal hunting after fortune tellers, gazing upon the 
flight of birds, looking into the entrails of beasts with 
vain curiosity ; seeking for cunning women (as we call 
them) and silly men to give him an account of his 
destiny, and if it can be believed, consenting to the 
highest inhumanities in pursuit of magical experi- 

"Yet when we come to the last scene, the most pre- 


judiced heart must be softened ; with, what majesty does 
the emperor meet his fate ! showing how a soldier, 
how a philosopher, how a friend of Lady Suffolk's (only 
with juster notions of the Deity), ought to die. 

" The lady, the book, or both together, have brought 
me almost into a raving way. I want to make an ap- 
pointment with you, Mr. Pope, and a few friends more, 
to meet upon the summit of my Bevis Hill, and thence, 
after a speech, and a tender farewell, I shall take my 
leap towards the clouds (as Julian expresses it) to mix 
among the stars ; but I make my bargain for a very 
fine day, that you may see my last amusements to ad- 

" Wherever be the place, or whenever the time, this 
I can assure you with great sincerity, I shall remain 
to the utmost possibility, &c. &c. 


On account of the death of the clergyman who 
had performed the private ceremony, Peter- 
borough was again married to Anastasia 
at Bristol, subsequently to the scene at St. 
James' Palace. Shortly afterwards his sufferings 
became so intense that he was obliged to submit 
to a surgical operation of a most painful and 
dangerous character, and while the wound was 


yet open, he set out in a carriage to Southampton, 
despite the remonstrances of his physicians. He 
bore the journey well, however, and even rallied 
a little on his arrival. 

About this time Pope paid him a last visit, at 
Be vis Mount, just before his departure for Lisbon. 
There cannot be a more complete and affecting 
account of Peterborough's closing days than that 
which Pope has given in the following letter 
to his friend Miss Martha Blount : 

" Madam, 

" I found my Lord Peterborough on his couch, where 
he gave me an account of the sufferings he had passed 
through, with a weak voice but spirited. He talked 
of nothing but the great amendment of his condition, 
and of finishing the buildings and gardens for his 
* best friend ' to enjoy after him ; that he had one care 
more, when he went into France, which was, to give 
a true account to posterity of some parts of history in 
Queen Anne's reign, which Burnet had scandalously 
represented ; and of some others to justify her against 
the imputation of intending to bring in the Pretender, 
which, to his knowledge, neither her ministers Oxford 
and Bolingbroke, nor she, had any design to do. 

" He next told me that he had ended his domestic 


affairs, through such difficulties from the law that gave 
him as much torment of mind, as his distemper had 
done of body, to do right to the person to whom he 
had obligations beyond expression. That he had 
found it necessary not only to declare his marriage 
to all his relations, but, since the parson who married 
them was dead, to re-marry her in the church at 
Bristol before witnesses. 

"The warmth with which he spoke on these subjects, 
made me think him much recovered, as well as his 
talking of his present state as a heaven to what was 
past. I lay in the room next to him, where I found 
he was awake, and called for help most hours of the 
night, sometimes crying out for pain. In the morning 
he got up at nine, and was carried into the garden in 
a chair. He fainted away twice there. He fell about 
twelve into a violent pang, which made all his limbs 
shake, and his teeth chatter, and for some time he lay 
as cold as death. His wound was dressed, which was 
done constantly four times a day, and he grew gay and 
sat at dinner with ten people. After this he was in 
great torment for a quarter of an hour, and as soon as 
the pang was over was carried into the garden by the 
workmen, talking again of history, and he declaimed 
with great spirit against the meanness of the present 
great men and ministers, and the decay of public spirit 
and honour. 


" It is impossible to conceive how much his heart is 
above his condition. He is dying every hour, and ob- 
stinate to do whatever he has a mind to. He has 
concocted no measures beforehand for his journey, but 
to get a yacht in which he will set sail ; but no place 
fixed to reside at, nor has he determined what place to 
land at, nor has provided any accommodation for his 
going on land. He talks of getting towards Lyons, 
but undoubtedly he never can travel, but to the sea- 

" I pity the poor woman who has to share in all he 
suffers, and who can in no one thing persuade him to 
spare himself. I think he will be lost in this attempt, 
and attempt it he will. He has with him, day after 
day, not only all his relations, but every creature of 
the town of Southampton that pleases. He lies on 
his couch and receives them, though he says little. 
When his pains come, he desires them to walk out, 
but invites them to stay, and dine, or sup, &c. He 
says he will go at the month's end if he is alive. 

" Nothing can be more affecting and melancholy to 
me than what I see here ; yet he takes my visit so 
kindly, that I should have lost one great pleasure had 
I not come. I have nothing more to say, as I have 
nothing in my mind but this present object, which 
indeed is extraordinary. This man was never born 
to die like other men any more than to live like them. " 
s 2 


When Pope was leaving Bevis Mount at the 
conclusion of this mournful visit, Peterborough 
gave him a watch, the gift of the King of Sicily, 
the Duke of Savoy of the War of the Succession; 
it bore the donor's arms and insignia on the inner 
case. " You will now have something to put 
you every day in mind of me," said the Earl, as 
he handed Pope this parting present. 

A few days after this he sailed for Lisbon, 
and reached it ; but on the 25th of October, with 
his "best friend" watching tenderly by his pil- 
low, he died. 

Lady Peterborough survived, beloved and ho- 
noured, to the age of eighty-eight years. Her life 
passed in profound retirement ; she rarely left the 
"buildings and gardens" that her husband had 
been so anxious to complete and beautify for her 
at Bevis Mount, except to visit for a time the 
Duchess of Portland, the daughter of the Lady 
Oxford, who had been the witness of her private 
marriage, and her true friend through life. 


Peterborough attained undoubted celebrity, 
but he stopped short of fame. He possessed 
some of the very highest qualities and faculties 
of man's nature in the very highest degree, 
but they were always counterbalanced by cor- 
responding deficiencies that rendered them use- 
less to his country and to himself. His quick 
apprehension and decision, the inexhaustible re- 
sources of his ingenuity, his preternatural energy, 
his undaunted courage, and, at times, his far- 
sighted combinations, would have won him a 
place in the front rank among great military 
captains, but that his decision was often as ca- 
pricious as it was rapid; his ingenuity wasted 
itself upon disproportioned objects; his energy, 
too frequently, was exhausted in useless or mis- 
chievous directions; his courage was shown as 
conspicuously in daring the authority of his su- 
periors as in facing the enemy, and his combina- 
tions were at times marred by an ungovernable 
temper, which rendered his fellow- workers un- 
willing to develop them, 

It cannot be denied that Peterborough's cani- 

* 3 


paigns of Catalonia and Valencia are among the 
most wonderful on record, and are altogether 
without parallel among the glorious but sober 
achievements of the British arms. Nevertheless, 
there was something strange and fantastic about 
them which renders their details more fitted for 
the airy framework of a romance than for the 
formal page of history. He alternated between 
gigantic plans of operation, including kingdoms 
and empires altogether beyond his grasp, and 
the personal execution of petty enterprises that 
were below the duties of his position. His mental 
vision was deficient in perspective and propor- 
tion. It magnified the foreground of the present 
into extravagant dimensions. It caused him to 
pursue the conquest of a province and that of 
a Valencian coquette with equal earnestness; 
and a dense fog of vanity obscured all perception 
of the judgment of others upon himself. Vanity 
was his evil spirit; it ruled him like a tyrant; it 
shaped and contracted every action ; it coloured 
the brilliant sparkles of his wit ; it hampered his 
eloquence; it entangled his plans; it corrupted 


the sources of his generosity; it degraded his 
nobility ; it dwarfed his ambition ; it blinded his 
patriotism; it severed his friendships; and it poi- 
soned the happiness of his love. And yet to his 
dying day he remained unconscious of this fatal 
weakness. He deemed, instead, that it was a 
lofty pride which swelled his heart when, with 
broken fortunes, with disappointed aspirations, he 
lay in bodily torture, and said, " From the height 
of my own greatness I look down upon kings 
and peers, and people, as men of like dimensions." 
Peterborough lived and died an unhappy man. 
The fresh current of boyhood was polluted by 
the coarse licentiousness of Charles's court. The 
schemes of his early manhood, although successful, 
only bore to himself the fruit of the suspicion, 
and, as he held, ingratitude, of the Dutch King, 
whom he had helped to crown. His brilliant 
successes in Spain raised him up a host of enemies, 
who stung and irritated him incessantly. His 
diplomatic services had been accepted with obvious 
interestedness, baffled by suspicion, and repaid by 
neglect. A long life of military and political 

s 4 


activity, subsided but into an inglorious obscurity, 
the darkness of which was only now and then 
illumined by a flash of sarcastic wit, or by the 
glare of some absurd notoriety. 

Few have ever started in life with such a com- 
bination of nature's and fortune's gifts, as this 
singular man. Nature had bestowed upon him a 
brilliant intellect, a lofty spirit, a warm heart, 
and a vigour of constitution that seemed to defy 
both hardships and excesses alike. Fortune had 
given him high rank and large estates. But the 
evil associations of his early life developed the 
weaker and worse characteristics of his nature 
into prominent growth, while the stronger and 
better were choked up and stunted. He owned 
to no fixed principles of religion, morality, or 
politics. His career was a series of unconnected 
actions. His motives were mere impulses. He 
sailed with all his canvas spread, but without a 
rudder ; he admitted of no rule of duty, and his 
sole, but unacknowledged end, was the gratification 
of his inordinate self-esteem. His errors and 
shortcomings bore with them their own punish- 


ment. The tone of many of his later letters is 
very sorrowful, even more sorrowful than bitter. 
His life was a mistake and a failure: its result 
was youth without enjoyment, manhood without 
happiness, old age without repose. 

It would be an impertinence in the narrator, to 
elaborate the obvious moral from the story of 
such a career as that of Charles, Earl of Peter- 
borough; but, in conclusion, he would fain call 
the reader's attention to the high and noble 
qualities, which ran through his hero's character, 
like silver threads through a dark tissue. While 
we condemn and pity, we may also find that 
which we can admire and respect. For he loved 
justice and liberty, and hated wrong and oppres- 
sion ; he risked his life and expended his fortune 
in his country's service ; and, at a time of general 
corruption, he was never accused, even by his 
worst enemy, of one sordid thought. 


Letters from Lord Peterborough to General 

"Barcelona, Nov. the 18th, 1705. 
" Friend, 

"I send you my letter to my Lord Treasurer 
open, and Harley's ; seal them before you deliver them ; 
it will make mine the shorter to you, and you will be 
instructed from both, and from what my wife will 
inform you, of what I expect for the public and myself. 

" You remember the uneasinesses I have been ex- 
posed to, before you left me ; they are increased fifty 
per cent, since your departure: they do not torment 
me as they did in our first camp, because I hope our 
reputations are safe, but Cunningham must be a true 
prophet, and never were troops exposed to such a 
usage, or a poor prince to such Ministers. 

"God preserve any country from the best of 
German Ministers ! what is the circumstance of that 
place exposed to the worst of them? In the beggarly 


circumstances of our princes and generals, it is certain 
nothing can be greater than the affection of all sorts 
of people to the King, and nothing can be greater 
than the contempt and aversion they have to Litestein 
and Wolfeld, and to the whole Vienna crew. They 
have spent their whole time in selling places ; and all 
the money in the town so disposed of that way, and 
so well secured, that Mr. Crow, myself, and all the 
friends we could employ in Barcelona, could not 
obtain six thousand pounds to keep our troops from 
starving, either upon bills for Genoa, Leghorn, Lisbon, 
Amsterdam, or London. 

" In a word, your wish could not put us in better 
circumstances, and your imagination cannot conceive 
a worse condition than we are in. 

" Not only Catalonia, but all these parts of Spain 
are entirely disposed in our favour. Some provinces 
of France are as weary of their King, as these parts 
are of the Duke of Anjou. 

" I have intelligence and correspondence wherever 
the enemy have troops, who are much more disposed 
to join us than to fight with us. From Valencia, 
from Arragon, from Mount Lewis, from Languedoc, 
from the Cevennes, I have every day offers and solici- 
tations ; and I cannot want success wherever I go, if 
I could but go. Add to all this that the Duke of 
Savoy is returned, and in heart. In answer to some 


letters from him, I was forced to send Hamilton to 

" But on the other side, never Prince was accom- 
panied by such wretches for Ministers : they have 
neither money, sense, nor honour ; and make such 
work here, that were it not for Crow, who knows the 
people, and does interpose sometimes, all things here 
would be in the utmost confusion. 

" In a word, I cannot get carriages to transport the 
baggage of our troops to their garrisons ; I cannot get 
ammunition carried to a fortified town where there is 
not one barrel of powder ; I cannot get provisions put 
into a place which must expect a siege ; I cannot so 
much as get the breach of Barcelona repaired. The 
Dutch troops have not one farthing but what I am 
forced to find for them. The marines were never 
provided ; for the troops that came over to us are 
naked, starving, and deserting back. I have no 
money left, I have no credit, I have sent a-begging 
to Italy, but cannot hope for a fit return ; we have no 
medicines for our sick, we have not wherewithal to 
constitute and form hospitals, and we shall perish 
without being able to get to those places which only 
desire to be in our hands. The troops of La Feuillade 
are coming towards us, those from the frontiers of 
Portugal in motion, the French are rushing horse and 
foot on the frontiers, and the happy opportunity in 


our favour cannot last long, and we cannot make use 
of it while it does. 

"Now, Sir, I must trouble you a little upon my own 
account. I take it for granted that my readiness to 
serve in all places, and upon all occasions, and per- 
haps under the greatest difficulties, will not do me a 
prejudice in relation to my sea pretences, though I 
am not ignorant that there are some who will make it 
an argument that the great services that may be ex- 
pected for the next campaign ashore can afford but 
little opportunity for my serving at sea. To this my 
plain answer is, without the command of the fleet and 
troops I desire to be recalled home, and will not serve. 
I think I have made no ill use of the double trust 
reposed in me, and I am sure it will prove more 
necessary this year than the last. You have sufficient 
experience of our sea politics, but as I have stated 
the double scheme in my letter to my Lord Treasurer 
for the operations next year, I must add to you, that 
I believe the enterprises along the coasts and on the 
sea-ports are the most probable. To Madrid we 
might have gone this year, with money and a little 
more force. They would scarce have had the leisure 
or wherewithal to have destroyed the country before 
us ; but now that remedy they will have in their power, 
and certainly they will put it in execution when 
pressed, which must put us on the other measures in 


conjunction with the fleet, besides what the necessity 
of affairs may require in Italy, or a superiority of 
force ashore. 

"But, Sir, you that saw the wise negotiations of 
some people with our seamen, you that know what 
some men are capable of, which will be confirmed from 
Methuen from all that are concerned in the Queen's 
business, pray represent to the Ministers that nothing 
but sufficient authority, or positive orders as to those 
services approved by our Court, can save fleet and 
army from being exposed to the caprices of the most 
wretched creatures of the earth. The Prince Litestein 
and General Wolfeld have thought it strange that 
troops should not march without baggage, that they 
should complain for want of money, that they should 
think it hard not to have fire or quarters allowed them 
in Barcelona ; in a word, that they should expect here 
what troops have every where else ; that they should 
desire the sick should be taken from the well, or that 
hospitals should be provided to save troops they 
stand so much in need of. The truth is, a thousand 
have perished in this town by their inhumanity and 
negligence. They have hitherto lain exposed in open 
cloisters to the air and wet, the sick upon the bare 
ground amongst the other men, without any relief. 
Never men suffered so much and with so much 
patience ; it goes to my soul ; and all things are at a 


stand, while these beggars are selling places to their 
greatest enemies, a German Sinsestein, the Prince of 
Hesse's piratical Secretary officiating as such for the 

King, and being become a great Minister. 

* * * * * * 

" I enclose a letter to your father, which I desire 
you to send. I solicit hard everywhere. I am sen- 
sible we might do great things if sustained, but I hope 
the Ministers will value themselves as they ought 
upon the support they give, and so keep these poor 
beggars from riding us with German pride and 
insolence, and sacrificing us by their folly. They 
have not assisted us in the least circumstance have 
suffered a thousand of our men to perish by ill usage, 
and if our troops were not possessed with the opinion 
and desire to bring about some things of great conse- 
quence, they would lose patience and mutiny. 
* * * * * * 

" Your affectionate servant, 

" I believe the Queen will order Charlemont to 
sell ; if so, I have agreed with him at 1500/., but 
he would have been described as a hero. If he be 
prevented from bargaining for the new clothing, the 
Regiment will come cheap." 


" Valencia, June 17th, 1706. 
" Sir, 

" According to the laudable custom of our Court, 
they have sent me a scheme for the service, quite dif- 
fering from the first and solemn resolutions of the 
Council of War, and send to me to know what men 
and money I can send to the Saragossa army ; and 
this, no opinion of a Council of War, but a letter 
signed by the King, without anything to the same 

purpose from any General or Minister. 

# * * * 

" I desire you will make use of this opportunity 
with the King to let him see how proper it was to 
threaten me, as if I defrauded him of public money. 
I offered to pay all his troops, gave all the money I 
had when I left Catalonia, and yet was used according 
to their innate good breeding. I am afflicted at the 
disappointment for the public, having not a farthing 
to give to his troops; but the mortification had yet 
been greater if it had not been explained to them, 
what they would not be convinced of by me; however, 
I must turn heaven and earth to get money to support 
his troops, and will do it if they are made sensible 
how unreasonable their obliging ways were ; and that 
they must starve, or rob, if I do not find ways to 
support them, at the hazard of my own fortune. I 
believe I shall soon be possessed of Requena, the 



proper place for our magazine for Castille, and of 
Alicant, whither I am marching with some troops. 
Our new men are all in the hospital ; but, however, 
Las Torres is gone, and the whole kingdom ours. 
" Your affectionate friend, 



"It is more than intolerable that the same 
thing should be expected from me without the troops 
agreed, as with them, without money, as with money; 
and, what is most provoking, I am not to think myself 
ill-used, receiving every day the most needless affronts, 
and the greatest hardships. 

" But that you may depend upon, and you do me 
justice in believing that these follies can make no 
alteration in me in any part of my duty ; only, as a 
public minister, I desire you to advise the Ministers I 
am very weary of the service, that they may not be 
surprised if I should make use of the blessed liberty 

you obtained for me. 


" In a word, want of money alone will destroy us ; 
and I hardly see how I can get those troops in order 
to march, if the opportunity was fair to employ them. 


Upon the whole matter, if the Portuguese are retired, 
I see but one bold stroke to save us, which is, to make 
use of this season, when troops can hardly march 
by land, to embark 6000 men, and attempt Gales 
[Cadiz], which at present must be unprovided ; it 
may be covered with the pretence of Italy. We may 
be from Alicant and those parts before Gales ere 
they suspect our design, or can take their resolutions. 
The truth is, at present all the strength of Spain is in 
Gibraltar, Gales, and the places in Catalonia ; all the 
wealth, in Andalusia and Madrid. Valencia and Ar- 
ragon are great loose bodies, that follow immediately 
the superiority of force in the field ; but, however, if 
once declared for us, they would amuse the enemy for 
some time, and it would require no little space to come 

and walk them over. 


" Sir, 
"Your most humble and affectionate servant, 

Valencia, the 20th (June), 1706." 


" The news we received from Tortosa, of the 
Duke of Anjou having left Madrid, is confirmed of all 

T 2 


hands by the advices we have likewise received ; 
though I have no notice from the King and yourself, 
I take it for granted, since the letters to me from 
Tortosa came from the magistrates, and they sent the 
copies of those came from Cifuentes. 

" It cannot be doubted but that the King will make 
the utmost haste to his capital, and therefore march 
with the horse without any delay, since he may safely 
do it from this side, upon the retreat of the enemy 

towards Pamplona. 

* * * * * * 

" All the difficulty can be made by the King must 
be upon this presumption, that a powerful army may 
return upon Spain and into Arragon, when the troops 
retired towards Pamplona may be joined by Tesse and 
the French ; and that there will be a necessity of a 
like considerable force to oppose, if the affairs of Italy 
are supported. In our present circumstances, I think 
there is nothing so plain, as that the French must 
desist from the thoughts of conquering a kingdom 
they could not keep when they had it. Besides, these 
troops cannot for some months form this terrible body, 
and when the King is master of Madrid and of the 
moneys which I suppose may be got there, of the 
foot taken in Alcantara, and of those that will desert 
the enemy, with the assistance of those great men that 
will make their court upon such a revolution, I sup- 


pose it will be easy to get together a considerable body 
of what may be called old troops. 

" Upon the whole matter I think I may depend 
upon this, that the King will lose no time in going to 
Madrid, and that, in the present circumstances, his 
quickest and safest way is by Valencia, and not by 
Arragon. I conceive, if the foot were to follow, it 
would be by slow and easy marches, and that the King 
will be retarded by nothing. I shall therefore get the 
horse forwards, and not press any of the services in 
this country to the fatiguing or ruin of our men, since 
all will fall of course, as soon as the retreat of the 
Duke of Anjou is known. 

" Pray let me hear from you as soon as possible ; 
and let me know the King's resolution, that I may 
apply myself wholly to get the horse in a condition to 



" I hope the King will be pleased with the fortifica- 
tions at Tortosa : he has reason to be satisfied with 
my care and concern ; but to those that think every- 
thing their due, there is no merit. 
" Sir, 

" Your affectionate friend, 

" Valencia, (June) the 30th." 

t 3 



* * * * 

" It is not conceivable what infamies have been 
committed by Bassett in this country, and such inso- 
lencies and follies were never heard of. I fear he has 
distributed some of his money, and I should be sorry 
the King should be persuaded not to discontinue such 
scandalous actions, especially after having, in a man- 
ner, engaged me in reputation, by his orders given to 
me, the Viceroy, and the Court, to take the proper 

measures to repress his insolencies. 

* * * * 


" Your most humble servant, 


"I should be easy by the orders I have re- 
ceived, and the circumstances I find my affairs in at 
home, if the Court had taken measures anything less 
desperate. I do not see why the enemy should not 
burn to the walls of Saragosa, while you are there, and 
besiege you in it, since they may invest it with 6000 


horse ; by what you will be told from Madrid, it 
would be difficult, I doubt, to make a Portuguese 
army march to Saragosa. And in time, with good 
management, you may wait till some foot may join 
them. By the account of our circumstances in the 
West Indies, the policy of losing the precious time 
will more plainly appear. 

" I have all possible encouragement from home, and I 
conceive them perfectly well apprized of our conduct 
and management ; some marks of the Queen's favours 
give me uneasiness, and others more trouble ; but the 
character of ambassador extraordinary, with those 
plenipotentiary powers sent me, are calculated to re- 
duce our German Ministers to some bounds. I doubt 
the news will not be over-acceptable to some of the 
Court. I am made uneasy by the great trust the 
Queen is pleased to repose in me, being more account- 
able for the events in Italy ; and what resolutions can 
be taken before we come to Madrid. We might have 
been in condition to judge, and act, too, in ten days' 
time, if the King would not have broke into such 
solemn resolutions, with a folly and weakness which I 
believe was never equalled. 

"My Lord Mordaunt is coming with the Queen's 

compliments to the King of Spain, upon the affairs of 

Flanders ; and though I cannot but say the Duchess 

of Marlborough's part, my Lord Treasurer's in that, 

f 4 


and all that concerns me, is very obliging, yet I own 

I could have spared that favour. 

* * * * 

" I am resolved to make one effort more, to see if 
anything can touch a German heart. I have received a 
good sum of my own, and credit ; the King and his 
troops shall have every farthing of it, and I will send 
it in gold to our expedition at Saragosa, as likewise a 
thousand pistoles for the Portugal ambassador ; he 
writes to Mead, who can furnish him with none. I am 
desirous to oblige him, and you will do me the favour 

to make him sensible of it. 

* # * * 

" Sir, 

"Your most affectionate friend, 

"Valencia, July the 18th, 1706." 

"Valencia, the 13th July, 1706. 
" Sir, 

" You told me once, you wondered at my tem- 
per upon the retreat of the Portuguese ; though it may 
seem strange to retire when there is no enemy, I 
think it more extraordinary not to advance towards 
a crown. 


"But, Sir, this administration makes one lose all 
patience, or gives it one to the last degree. I am 
really come to that pass that nothing can move me, 
as you will find by my answer to your last letter 

but one. 

* * * * 

" Mr. Mead will satisfy you that I have wasted no 
public money ; I wish the makers of these lies could 
say they had wasted no precious time. 

" Your most affectionate friend, 


"July the 20th, 1706. 

* * * # 

" But our Admiral plundering Carthagena, that 
admitted them with all imaginable civility and gal- 
lantry, and making themselves the judges of what 
ought to be confiscated, and taken it for themselves, 

is a proceeding as new as scandalous. 

* * * * 

" I desire you to see if any civilities of mine can be 
made acceptable, by your putting them in a true light 
before His Majesty; the last letter I received from 


him was very civil. I have laid out 10,000/. of my 
own for his service since I came to Valencia. 
* * * * 

" Sir, 




" The unwillingness of my brethren of the sea 
to stir one step out of the way for any service, is 
so remarkable, that a remedy shall be put to that 
lazy humour as soon as I can get the necessary 


* # * * 

" Your most affectionate friend, 


" Almunafelt, the 24th July, 1706. 

" Sir, 

* # * * 

" As to the Admirals, I think nothing was ever 
so extraordinary as their proceedings ; I shall explain 
them more at large. At Carthagena, Jennings, from 


the pretences of plundering, in a town that received 
them with all the kindness imaginable, and the main 
fleet has, in the environs of Alicant, taken to the 
value of fifty thousand crowns in wine from friend 
and foe, under the happy pretext of Gavachos and 
Butiflenos ! 

* * # # 

" Sir, 



"Parilla, August the 1st, 1706. 

" Sir, 

" The consequences of the most fatal resolution 
taken by the King, in delaying his journey to Madrid, 
appear every day more and more ; and I can hardly 
persuade myself that men in their common senses 
could fall into such measures. Nothing is like the 
usage I have received from the Court ; and the only 
consolation I have is, that I believe it will prove suf- 
ficient to make me take the happy opportunity of 
leaving them to their own conduct and fortune. 

" In my opinion, from being absolutely secure of the 
kingdom, their affairs were never in worse circum- 
stances; and a most scandalous and unexpected re-? 


volution may happen. There are generals enough ; 
and I may well be spared, who am much more willing 
to return to my cabin, when, hitherto, I can give the 
world a good account of myself, than to share with 
others a disgrace, that is as probable, in my opinion, 
as it will be little expected in England, if it should 
happen, who, I suppose, think all over, and will 
be sure to neglect every thing necessary for our 
support this autumn. 

" Never men were so industrious to bring things all 
ways to the utmost extremities, for I see nothing but 
a battle, which, with a disadvantage of our side, is 
fatal, no retreat, no security, no after-gaine, but 
every man lost ; for, assure yourself, in Castille there 
is a most violent spirit against us, which appears to a 
degree that could not be imagined. 

" As the possession of Madrid six weeks ago gave us 
all imaginable advantages, had, in a manner, engaged 
all Spain, and given us the opportunity of driving the 
horse the enemy had out of this country, before they 
were reinforced with foot, as it might have encouraged 
the Portuguese to march on (whose stop for ten days at 
Madrid was as fatal as Hannibal's at Capua), so now, in 
my poor opinion, the possession and defence of Madrid 
is like to prove our greatest trouble, and put us upon 
measures of all unreasonable hazards to protect it. 

" That the King must go thither is certain, and as 


certain that he will be received there with nothing 
but noise. Every body is persuaded the deciding 
stroke is at hand, and will, therefore, expect the 
events of a battle. They think we have no succours 
at hand, that the enemy are in daily hopes of rein- 
forcements ; they have no opinion of the Portuguese 
troops; and believe the other army will be very 
hearty and very unanimous. And, indeed, I am 
very much afraid of them, for their former actions, 
and this last wise stroke of detaining the King has 
given a contempt and aversion for the German 
Ministry that is inconceivable ; and the change of 
disposition in every place in a month's time cannot 
be expressed. 

"After the taking Requena, twenty horse might have 
gone to Madrid ; and all the places were offering to 
me to acknowledge the King, upon condition I would 
protect them from Miquelets, and the thieves and 
rogues bred up under Bassett : but now, many thou- 
sands were in arms, to oppose our passing the river 
Xucar; and they broke down all the bridges, and 
flung up earth and stoccaded many passes, and have 
given all the most warm and foolish marks of ill-will, 
and had made it very uneasy for us to pass but for 
the drought, which had made many places fordable. 

"The letters for Mahoni, from the governors of 
Cuenca and St. Clemente, express their inclinations 


and hopes, which I doubt are better grounded than 
we believe ; and in Valencia things cannot be in 
worse circumstances: the country disgusted and 
affronted to the highest degree in the King's ne- 
glect of them, who had so zealously served him, 
and revenge is a passion not unknown to the 
Spaniards. That poor people, so exposed and harassed, 
had got sixteen thousand pistoles ready to present 
to the King. Castillon de la Plana, Xativa, and some 
other great towns, had a thousand pistoles ready, and 
many others five hundred, to present to the King; but 
between the King and the Admirals, such an alteration 
was never in any country, and sure never were such 
measures taken by both to procure it. All the huerto 
of Alicant, as they call it, the people, all our friends ; 
and when we were expecting them to join and assist 
us, then to land all our men, and employ our boats 
night and day to rob them with that admirable dis- 
tinction of knowing who were Gavachos and Buti- 
Jlenos ! This is yet beyond St. Mary's ; and above 
fifty thousand crowns' worth of wine they have either 
embarked or destroyed. 

" Besides, there is nothing that I apprehend more 
than a little army with many generals. What may 
be the pretences of a Portuguese, who, perhaps, has a 
mind to go home, what may be the disposition of the 
Court, I know not, but I am sure I will be commanded 


by nobody, and have as little mind to command. I 
have always had in imagination, that our Ministry 
could make the King miscarry in the gates of Madrid ; 
and I believe it may so happen. 

" I will trouble you no more at present, but desire 
you to keep the contents of this letter to yourself. I 
shall be on the 4th at Pastrana, as the King's letter 
directs. I have eight hundred horse, and Aumada 
and Colbatch. Wyndham will be at or about Cuenca 
on the 5th, with five hundred horse and three regi- 
ments of foot. I am sorry to hear of an engagement. 
I suppose some of your blessed orders have drawn it 
on, when two thousand horse, and about three thou- 
sand foot, were at hand. I can only tell you, that all the 
comfort I have when I draw near your Court, is yourself. 
I wonder in none of your letters that you take notice of 
having received the money. I suppose you only writ 
to get some, and never think more of it when received. 

" Your most affectionate servant, 


" Sir, 

" When I came near Huete, I received the com- 
fortable news, that all my baggage, consisting of 
sixteen waggons, besides fifty mules, except eight or 
nine with me, were taken by the enemy; all my 


horses and equipage, and the most part of my ser- 
vants killed, which I owe to the Spanish general; 
with the loss of the artillery that was there, which he 
left behind, without my knowledge or order, without 
a guard, when twenty men would have brought it 
safe to the camp. It is hard that I must suffer so by 
the follies of others, who never had any the least mis- 
chance while affairs were in my hands. 

" The whole country rose with the enemy's horse for 
this noble project, and nothing could be more for- 
tunate than my escape and coming ; for though my 
particular loss is irrecoverable, yet, with about sixty 
horse, I have recovered and frighted the whole country, 
and brought them into subjection. I marched towards 
Cuenca to hasten Wyndham, and to give him what 
advice and assistance I could, and have contributed 
to keep him from starving, with much aJo ; but it is 
never thought of with you, that people may starve in 
a country where the people are against you, having no 
magazines and stores. 

" The taking of Cuenca is the most fortunate thing 
in the world, and the recovery of Huete. Both strong 
by nature, the fi>st might easily be made impregnable ; 
the other consequences are touched in the Council of 
War, which you will see. I am but a poor volunteer, 
that stay a day or two to put things in some order, 
without which these troops, after their success, would 


have perished before they could join you. Without 
these places, and the troops where they are, I do not 
see how you could subsist ; and as things are, it will 
be hard enough, unless extraordinary careful measures 
be taken. 

# * * # 

" I bear all other losses patiently, besides my barbs 
and my cheese. My Lord Galloway and you have 
your share. I had eight waggons with good eatables 
and drink, which I told you I would send you ; but 
good management can lose meat and drink, barbs 

and kingdoms. 

* * * * 

" Your most affectionate servant, 

"Huete, August the 16th, 1706." 

"Huete, August 18th, 1706. 

* * * * 

" I hope by my diligence and care, to overcome 

even the ingratitude of your Court ; at least, I will do 

my duty, upon other principles, and cannot be robbed 

of my reward. How much soever I suffer by the 



follies, and ignorance, and misfortunes of others, I 
shall have the satisfaction of having done my duty. 

" I do not see, but in the present circumstances if 
improved, but you may very well carry on a defensive 
war. Money I will get, if above ground, and a port 
to winter our fleet in ; and of this rest assured, and 

with the utmost dispatch. 

* * * * 

"I suppose you will abate something of your inso- 
lence and cruelty at present. Let not the King make 
his enemies desperate, and discourage his friends. 
They are proper methods at this time. Let me hear 
from you and have answers. I am sorry for your 
sake. I have lost all my good wine and drink. I 
shall make a brave hand of it. I have nothing left 
but a suit of clothes and six shirts, and have lost 
above six thousand pounds by others, that never lost 
a mule, or the least thing, this whole war. 

" Sir, 
" Your most affectionate servant, 

"I am just marching to Valencia." 

" Sir, 

" I send you, enclosed, my letter to the King : 
I will make my utmost efforts to overcome all the 


prejudices raised by his villainies. I will serve him 
with all that zeal and delicacy which such usage 
deserves, as I receive from the Queen, who rewards 
me for all the ill-manners of this Court, and their in- 
gratitude, with favours and obligations that can never 
be deserved since they are made more obliging in the 
manner than the thing. 

" But if that won't do, I will seek other ways of being 
easy in this service ; and I doubt not to bring it to 
that certainty, that none shall be able to prevent 
regular and proper measures to be taken, and that it 
shall be made impossible for them either to undo 
themselves, or disappoint the Queen and nation of the 
honours due to them for those generous efforts which 
have been so frustrated by the scandalous folly and 

knavery of some people. 

* * * * 

"Perhaps you might get me St. Roman, my aide-de- 
camp, who is taken, and my papers from the Due of 
Berwick, which are of no further use to him when 


* * * * 

" I might have profited by the loss of my baggage, 
the towns concerned having offered to raise a great 
sum, rather than expect the effects of my resentment, 
which they had reason to expect but I chose to oblige 

u 2 


them to bring corn for the army, rather than money 
for me ; but this, as all other services, will meet the 
same acceptance. 

" Sir, 
" Your affectionate friend, 

"August the 30th, 1706." 

" Sir, 

" I received your letter with great satisfaction ; 
for though I confess the pleasures I have had in Italy 
are great, and that the prospect of my speedy return 
makes it impossible for me to be in ill-humour, yet I 
was a little vexed that, by the indiscretions of that 
wretch, so many of my friends should believe you 
were consenting to such insinuations and stories that 
were spread to my prejudice. What I have 'scaped 
in Spain, what I have enjoyed in Italy, makes me 
conclude my stars are lucky, and have cured me of ill- 
humour. I have a little good wine sent me by Monsieur 
Pontchartrain, which will last for ten or twelve days, 
and I have fifty hogsheads of it at Genoa, that I hope 
serve me for the campaign in Italy. 



**I hope you are getting the fruit of my services to 
the little Marqueza ; but I quit very willingly all my 
pretences in Spain to you and everybody else. 

" Your most humble and obedient servant, 

" Buriana, (Jan. 6th, 1707)." 


" I write to you from the country of wonders 
and uncertainty, from a place famous for the pre- 
sence of three kings, that of Sweden, Augustus, and 

" The allies may reproach themselves an overgrown 
power, which they might easily have prevented, 
which nothing can govern, and which would spoil 
even our greatest successes, since at last he will impose 
what peace he pleases. 

"The King of Sweden, withfifteen millions of crowns 
raised in Saxe, has raised, clothed, and mounted 
eighteen thousand horse and eight thousand dragoons ; 
his foot makes up fifty thousand, the best troops in 
the world. In a week he marches into Silesia. His 


pretended quarrels with the Emperor are extra- 
ordinary, and fresh ones arise every day, but the 
pretence is, he will march against the Muscovites when 
he has reparation from the Emperor, who offers all 
desired ; yet his Ministers cannot be admitted to 

"I am enjoying the pleasure of liberty and idleness, 
going from court to court in Germany, seeing wonders. 
Indeed, I can hardly do otherwise, being incommoded, 
and not able to travel ; however, I shall reach Parlia- 
ment and Old England in the autumn. 

"I expect no news from Spain, expecting no good. 
You find Spanish horse will beat English foot, and 
that it was not so easy as you thought the getting to 
Madrid. I thank all those that have assisted in send- 
ing me to London. 

" Pray present my service to the Marquise of La 
Casta, and tell her I hope she finds herself better in 
her new friendships, than the King has done in his new 

" Sir, 

" Your most humble and obedient servant, 

"Ranstad nearLeipsic, July the 18th, 1707. 

" The King of Sweden gives more fears by his silence 


than ever any other monarch gave by his threats. It 
is undecided whether he is very wise or fool-hardy ; 
all we know is, he has fifty thousand men mad enough 
to obey with pleasure all he can command." 



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DA Warburton, George Drought 
437 A memoir of Charles Mor-l 
P5W3 daunt earl of Peterborough 
and Monmouth